Florida tire dealer Jeff Clay dies at 83

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Jeff Clay,. 83, of Kissimmee, Fla., died Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, after a brief illness.

Clay started a little tire business from his home in 1957. He was later joined by his brothers, Jim and Don; when Jim retired in 1974, Jeff and his sons continued the family business as Jeff Clay & Sons Inc., which does business as Jeff Clay & Sons Tires. It is the oldest and largest tire business in Osceola County.

Jeff Clay was born in Huntington, W.V., on Dec. 7, 1926, the second son of the late John and Otha Clay. He met his future wife, Lucia Perez, while they were both undergoing rehabilitation for tuberculosis in Marianna, Fla. They married on Aug. 10, 1952.

The Clays helped start the the first congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kissimmee. Today, there are more than 30 English, Spanish, Portuguese and Sign Language Congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Osceola County.

"Jeff was a kind and generous man, looking out for those in need and offering practical assistance," says his grandson, Jay Marcoe.

Clay is survived by his wife, Lucia; his daughter, Sherry (Bill) Marcoe; and two sons, Johnny Clay and Jeffrey (Kelli) Clay. He also is survived by his grandchildren, Jay (Danielle) Marcoe, Philip (Kayla) Marcoe, Ginny (Robert) Lassiter, Chelsea (John) Bassford, Shanna Clay and Austin Clay; and one great-granddaughter, Ahna Lucia Bassford.

He was preceded in death by his brothers Jim and Don Clay, as well as a son, Robert Clay, and a grandson, Heath Clay.

A Memorial Service for Jeff will be held at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Saturday, Dec. 12. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses or to Samaritan Hospice in his name.

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