John William Clayton, age 86, resident of Rossville and husband of Laverne Shearin Clayton, departed this life Wednesday evening, June 24, 2020 at Baptist Reynolds Hospice House in Collierville.
John was born October 4, 1933 in Collierville, the son of the late Earl Anderson Clayton and Annie Mildred Strong Clayton. He graduated from Collierville High School in 1951 and went on to receive his Associate degree at Northwest Mississippi Junior College where he played football and basketball from 1951-53 and was the captain of the basketball team in 1952. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Memphis State University with a major in health and physical education and a minor in social studies.
He spent two years in the Army and then became a teacher and coach at Bartlett High School for two years. He was a teacher and head basketball coach at Frayser High School from 1958 until 1971. From Frayser, he served as Athletic Director and head Basketball Coach at Raleigh-Egypt from 1971 until 1974 when he became the Principal at Raleigh-Egypt from 1974-76. He continued as a Principal at Rossville Christian Academy from 1976-85. At Germantown High School, he was a teacher and coach from 1985-87 and Assistant Principal from 1987-89. He was the Inaugural Principal at Houston High School in 1989 and went on to retire from Houston in 1997.
His eleven years in the prep league led to 378 wins and ranked 8th on the Memphis-Shelby County all-time wins and ranked 11th on Memphis-Shelby County all-time percentage at .711 in 1986.
John was Coach of the Year in 1966-67 and 1967-68 at Frayser, TSSAA All-Star Coach in 1968-69, as well as Basketball Coach of the Year at Raleigh-Egypt 1972. During his coaching career, his Frayser teams defeated four teams that were ranked #1 – Central, Treadwell twice and Bartlett. He was Director of MIAA Coaches Basketball Clinic and organized the first Summer Basketball League in Memphis.
John was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968 and inducted in the Northwest Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, as well as added to the Hall of Fame Roster at Rossville Christian Academy in 2010. John was inducted in the Memphis Amateur Sport Hall of Fame in 2017.
John was a member of the National Education Association, Tennessee Education Association, Memphis Education Association, Shelby County Education Association, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals, Memphis Christian Athletic Association, Mississippi Private School Association and Phi Delta Kappa – Memphis State University Chapter 1971.
John was a member of the Shelby County Championship Basketball Team (1951), All County Basketball Team (1951) and the Cotton Carnival Royalty (1951), Honorary Lieutenant Colonel (Frayser) Army (1970), and Honorary Colonel (Raleigh Egypt) Air Force (1976).
John was an active member of First Baptist Church Fisherville where he was involved with the nursing home ministry from 2009-11 and Vacation Bible School in 2009.
John is survived by his wife, Laverne Shearin Clayton; his son, Clay Clayton and his wife, Diana of Rossville; his sister, Dorothy Jean Hopkins of Collierville; his brother, Joe Clayton and his wife, Nell of Collierville; two grandsons, Matthew Clayton and his wife, Gracie of Rossville and Jacob Clayton of Rossville; and his great-granddaughter, Lainie Gaspar. He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl Anderson Clayton and Annie Mildred Strong Clayton and two brothers, James Earl Clayton and Jerry Clayton.
Funeral Services for Mr. Clayton were held at 3 P.M. Monday, June 29, 2020 at First Baptist Church Fisherville with Dr. Jeff James and Bro. Jack Moore officiating. Personal remarks were given by Jeff Hopkins. Interment followed in the Fisherville Cemetery.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers were Matthew Clayton, Jacob Glayton, Russ Brent, Mark Gina, David Garner and Andy Clayton.
The family requests that memorials be directed to First Baptist Church Fisherville, 11893 Macon Road, Eads, TN 38028.
To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral store.