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Clay, Leslie

Leslie “Fritz” Clay, 89, of Gilman, Iowa, passed away on Friday, November 7, 2014, at the Iowa River Hospice Home with his loving family by his side.

Memorial services for Fritz will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at Mitchell Family Funeral Home with Pastor Cheryl Ridenour and Chaplin Harlan Nuss officiating. Public visitation will be held one hour prior to services where his family will be present to greet friends. Burial will take place at a later date. Memorial contributions may be directed to his family. For further information or to send a condolence, please contact Mitchell Family Funeral Home at (641) 844-1234 or visit

Fritz was born on August 22, 1925, in Conrad, Iowa, the son of Leslie “Tot” and Marie (Sawyer) Clay. Raised on a farm outside of Gilman, Iowa, he attended the Gilman School District. Fritz honorably joined the Navy to serve our country during World War II in the South Pacific. He was united in marriage to Ethelyn “Tee” Holmes on February 14, 1947, in Gilman, Iowa. From this union three children were born: Steve, Michael and Leslie. Fritz worked at Lennox Industries, retiring after 42 years.

He was a member of the Methodist Church, VFW, American Legion, U.A.W., numerous bowling leagues, Escort Carrier Sailors & Airmen Association, and A.A. for over 60 years. He had a passion for wood working, fishing, hunting, remote control air planes, and family.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife: Tee Clay; children: Steve (Colleen) Clay, Michael Clay and Leslie Onthank; grandchildren: Alicia (David) Purdy, Rodney Clay, Brian Onthank, Jennifer Tibbetts, Matthew Clay, Stephanie (Dave) Milligan; Great grandchildren: Shannon Holmes, Britney and Zachary Holmes, David, Cory and Deleena Purdy, Kale and Payton Clay, Katie and Maisi Onthank, Miranda Tibbetts and Phoenix Clay; one brother, Charles Clay; one sister, Jean Simpson; and several nieces and nephews.

Fritz was preceded in death by his parents; son, Dennis Holmes; daughter-in-law, Eileen Holmes; two sisters: Donna Lawerence and Doris Walker; one brother: Richard Clay; three grandsons; and numerous fellow shipmates of the USS Bougainville (CVE-100).

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