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William Clay Schaefer, 75, passed away on December 31, 2023, in Owensboro, KY “when the slender thread of life snapped in twain”.
Clay was born on March 13, 1948, in Evansville, IN, son of Raymond Paul Schaefer, Sr. and Genevieve Amelia Switzer who preceded him in death. He graduated from Tell City High School in 1966 and from Western Kentucky University in 1970. In college he was a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity, serving as president one year.
After college, Clay moved to Dallas, Texas where he was a Certified Public Accountant working for the accounting firm of Haskins & Sells (Deloitte) and for petroleum industry companies based in Dallas mostly auditing their worldwide operations. He served on the Board of Directors of the North American Petroleum Accounting Conference, and as a president of the Petroleum Accountants Society of Dallas (COPAS).
In Texas, Clay was a member of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Garland. He volunteered with Catholic Charities as an English language teacher to foreign refugees from Asia and Africa and volunteered at the Ladies of Charity Thrift Store in the men’s clothing department and as a preparer of lunch meals for the homeless. For Junior Achievement, he taught young students how to succeed in the world economy.
His hobbies included stained glass artistry and genealogy. A genealogist for most of his life, Clay published two family history books: The Descendants and Ancestors of Raymond Paul Schaefer, Sr. and The Descendants and Ancestors of Genevieve Amelia Switzer. Both books were accepted by the U.S. Library of Congress. He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
An avid traveler, Clay journeyed to all fifty USA states and over one hundred countries on all continents except Antarctica. One period of a year and a half [1973-1975] was spent on a backpacking journey around the world. To help support his travels, Clay picked apricots, helped shear sheep, and washed dishes at a hotel kitchen in New Zealand; he picked apples in Tasmania and worked in a pineapple cannery in Australia. An account of the world trip authored by Clay begins in the June 12, 1975, Tell City News. A most memorable event during the journey was being kidnapped by anti-government combatants in Lalibela, Ethiopia. The event’s capture and escape were reported in The New York Times of March 18, 1975. Clay has now departed on his final journey.
Enjoyed events in Clay’s early years were building and racing a car for the 23rd Annual Soap Box Derby in 1960 and as an Altar Boy during Mass at St. Paul Catholic Church. Not as enjoyable was waking from sleep at 4:00 a.m. every day for seven years to deliver the Louisville and Evansville newspapers in all kinds of weather.
Since returning to Tell City in 2018 after retirement, Clay spent much time cleaning/enhancing family grave monuments dating back to the 1800s and being closer to his family, which was the most enjoyable and meaningful time of his life. And that included when baking cranberry bread for the family.
Surviving are his sister Mary Basham (James) of Owensboro, KY, brothers Doctor Charles Schaefer (Sena) of Columbia, KY, and Kenny Schaefer (Regina) of Tell City; nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. His brother Ray Schaefer (Cathy) preceded him in death.
Visitation will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at Zoercher-Gillick Funeral Home with a prayer service at 6 p.m. and from 9 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at St. Paul Catholic Church in Tell City before the Mass of Christian Burial with Fr. Tony Hollowell officiating. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the “Raymond and Genevieve Schaefer Scholarship Fund” at Saint Meinrad Archabbey Seminary, School of Theology in St. Meinrad, IN, St. Paul Catholic Church in Tell City or the St. Mary Cemetery Fund in Tell City.
Condolences may be left online at zoercher-gillickfuneralhome.com