Mary Agnes Dugan Clayton, born August 29, 1924 to Gertrude and Leo Dugan passed away August 17, 2018, just 12 days shy of her 94th birthday. She was the oldest of three daughters in her family. She and her sisters grew up on the family farm in the Cox’s Creek, KY area before moving to Bardstown. A proud graduate of Bethlehem Academy in Bardstown, Mary Agnes was the last remaining survivor of her grade school class of 27 students, a tight knit group who held several reunions over the years. She continued her education at Bethlehem High School, a 1943 graduate. Disciplined and determined, she continued her studies at St. Helena Business College, Louisville KY, in preparation for entry into the business world. Initially working as bookkeeper and payroll specialist for T.W. Samuels Distillery, she was valued and respected for her detailed and thorough work.
She married Paul Clayton in October 1948 and 1949 welcomed the birth of their first son Joseph Paul Clayton. Mike and Ellen followed. A tireless head of the household, she was famous for her southern cooking and ensured no one ever went away hungry from her bountiful table. When she wasn’t minding the home, she was “next door” managing the finances at Clayton’s Liquor Store, a successful operation, with a reputation for fairness and friendliness.
Mary Agnes volunteered in the Nelson County community including the St. Joseph Altar Society, American Legion Auxiliary and the Flaget Hospital Auxiliary. Over the span of 50 years, she and husband, Paul (Fourth Degree Knight) enjoyed many social events hosted by the Knights of Columbus.
In 2000, her son Joe Paul announced and founded the Mary Agnes Dugan Clayton scholarship for recipients to attend his alma mater, Bellarmine University. One of the provisions of Clayton’s gift honors his mother. It calls for one student from Bethlehem High School to be named as the Mary Agnes Dugan Clayton Scholar and receive a full scholarship to Bellarmine.
Mary Agnes was genuinely passionate in her support and loyalty to family, friends and fellow residents at Sunrise Senior Community and Woodland Terrace Senior Living, both in Carmel, IN.
She had a remarkable ability to physically recover from broken bones, heart issues, pneumonia, diabetes and a host of other challenges. Many credit her early farming days as the foundation of her character and strength into her late 80s and 90s. Strong willed, she was determined to recover and rebound.
Faith in God, devotion to prayer and Catholicism were her pillars and she never wavered. A longtime member of St. Joseph Parish, she’s home again for her final mass to celebrate a life well lived. She will be dearly missed but forever cherished.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul, her parents, sisters Pauline Hayden, Norma Shofner, and infant son, James Patrick.
She is survived by sons, Joseph Paul Clayton (Jan), Mike Clayton (Leigh Ann) both of Carmel, IN, daughter, Ellen Clayton Willett (Jerry) , Cincinnati, OH and eight grandchildren, Megan Stovall (Matt), Kelly Herr (Brock), Kathleen Reitz (Andy), John Paul Clayton, Molly Clayton, McKinley Clayton, Carlile Willett and Gracie Willett. She was blessed with four great grandchildren, Sam, Abby, William Stovall and Lucas Reitz.
The funeral mass is 11 a.m. Wednesday, August 22 at the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto Cathedral with burial in St. Joseph Cemetery. Rev. Minh Vu will officiate and Rev. Ben Brown will concelebrate. Visitation will be Tuesday, August 21 from 4 - 8 p.m., and 9 to 10:15 a.m. Wednesday morning at Barlow Funeral Home, 2675 John Rowan Boulevard, Bardstown, KY.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bethlehem High School or St. Joseph Parish in memory of Mary Agnes Dugan Clayton.