Mary E. Clay, 70, of Virginia Beach VA died peacefully on January 31,
2017 surrounded by love and God’s grace. Born in Alexandria, VA and
raised in Pensacola, FL, she is preceded in death by her mother, Nell
Hardy Avery and her father, James Avery.
Mary was married to Henry L. Clay III in 1965 in Pensacola, FL. Through
his service in the Navy, Mary and Hank lived in Pensacola, FL, Key West,
FL, Monterey, CA, Lakehurst, NJ and finally settled in Virginia Beach,
VA. Mary was a devoted military wife and mother of two. She was an active
member at Thalia United Methodist Church, teaching 4th grade Sunday
school for many years. She was also active in the Windsor Oaks Elementary
PTA and led the neighborhood Brownie Troop. Mary’s commitment to her
community and the local public schools was evident by the hours of
service she volunteered regularly.
In 1985, Mary went to work for Dr. Glenn Owens and Dr. Howard Dorman,
serving as the receptionist and doctor patient liaison of their
orthodontics practice until her retirement. Mary had an infectious smile,
generous spirit, kind and thoughtful disposition and charismatic energy.
She loved people and made everyone around her feel special and loved. She
gave her time and energy to anyone in need. Mary found great joy and
happiness in her grandchildren and modeled a life of compassion and
integrity for them. She adored her friends and family, her life on
Liberty Ridge Road, the beach, her pets, music and singing, watching
sports, travelling, advocating for justice, supporting her children,
sharing her faith, laughing and telling stories. She left the world a
bit better for having been a part of so many people’s lives.
Mary is survived in death by her two daughters, Yvonne Roeder and her
husband, Roland of Chesapeake, VA, and Laura Clay and her spouse, Beth
Barksdale of Germanton, NC; two sisters, Debby Firor and Joyce Green
Smith; two brothers, Jim Avery and John Avery; four grandchildren,
Olivia, Connor, Alex and Kip; five nieces, Melissa, CJ, Heather, Jennifer
Samuels, and Jennifer Avery; seven nephews, Brandon, John, David, Jason,
Joshua, Jeremiah, and Justin.
There will be a Memorial Service in Virginia Beach, VA on February 25,
2017 at Thalia United Methodist Church at 11 am, celebrating the life of
Mary Clay. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Alzheimer’s
Coffee County Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Clay family.