As a child, he grew up with five brothers, Clyde, Robert, Glenn, Bill, and Emmett, and a sister, Ollie McCarty. He attended school through the eighth grade and helped the family out by doing farm work for his uncles. He never bragged, but he was especially talented with horses. At the age of sixteen he took a team of horses to Licking, Missouri, and began helping to get equipment into the countryside to bring electricity to rural America.
On March 1, 1942, he was inducted into the United States Army at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, to begin more than three and a half years away from his home and family. Serving with Company K of the 35th Division of the 25th Infantry as a first scout, he earned three Bronze Stars for his service in campaigns at Guadalcanal, North Solomons, and Luzon in the Philippines. It was not just the fatigue of war, but the loss of many comrades that made him pray to God to get him out of there some way, somehow. Two days later, April 6, 1945, in a conflict with three Japanese in a bunker, he received shrapnel to the head from a hand grenade. These injuries caused him to lose his left eye. After recovering from his injuries, he was given an honorable discharge on September 3, 1945, and he eventually received his Purple Heart. Many times he mentioned that he never would have lasted that long if it had not been for letters every week from his dear, sweet mother.
He spent two years at Valley Park, Missouri, before moving to a farm south of Cabool. At that point, counting the Army as one move, he had moved 18 times. Then he met Mary Noland, and it wasn’t long that he knew he had made his last move. They married on July 11, 1948, and began to farm, milk cows, and raise their three children, Lyle, Quinnetta, and John.
For a number of years, Clay did custom baling, along with his own farm work. After helping build the MFA Fertilizer Plant, he began working there and later went to work at the MFA Exchange. Upon retiring, he and Mary traveled some, but continued to raise beef cattle and hay.
He was baptized into the First Baptist Church of Cabool on April 17, 1949.
He was preceded in death in 1998 by his wife of nearly 50 years, Mary Frisbee, and his son, John Clay Frisbee in 2003. All of his brothers, sister and their spouses preceded him in passing.
Clay is survived by his son, Lyle and wife Marilyn, and his daughter, Quinnetta and husband, Richard Howell, all of Cabool, and his daughter-in-law, Valora Frisbee, of Graff, Missouri; his friend, Lois Mitchem of Cabool, and her children, John of Cabool and Pam of Branson, Missouri; his grandchildren, Amy Bunch of West Plains, Missouri, Andy Frisbee of Springdale, Arkansas, Robert Howell and wife Janette of Cabool, Keith Howell of Cabool, Sara Howell of Cabool, Twylia Walker and husband Chad, of Cabool, and Tammy Young and husband Robert of Lebanon, Missouri; his ten great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
He lived south of Cabool for 66 years until he made his final move to his heavenly home. He will be missed when the gardens are planted, the hay is baled, but most of all when his family and friends want to hear his stories.
Services were at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 31, 2014, at Cabool First Baptist Church with Benjamin Leonard officiating. Pallbearers were Tyler Hoots, Chad Walker, Robert Young, Andy Frisbee, Robert Howell and Keith Howell. Interment with full military honors was in Cabool Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to Cabool First Baptist Church, Cabool Cemetery or to Hospice Compassus. Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com.