Missouri businessman, civic leader, restaurateur and historic preservationist Clay Marsh, 63, of Arrow Rock, died Thursday morning, February 8, surrounded by family, friends and his beloved dog Elsie, at Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, Missouri.
Clay Earl Marsh was born April 8, 1943, in Troy, Missouri, the son of the late Joseph James Marsh, Sr., and the late Lois Irene Reid Marsh. He grew up living and working at their family business, Kemper Marsh Millard Funeral Homes.
Clay graduated from Troy Buchanan High School, where he was active in many organizations. He spent his summers as a youth counselor with Camp Sherwood Forest at Cuivre River State Park. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and graduated from Missouri Valley College, where he majored in Humanics, was president of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and was elected to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.
After serving in the United States Army in Germany, he returned to Missouri Valley College as Director of Alumni Relations, rebuilding the college's alumni association and local chapters. He then served as the college's Director of Admissions, where he led a new team responsible for student recruitment and financial aid. Following his work for the college, he moved to Jefferson City, accepting a position in the administration of Governor Joseph P. Teasdale with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
In 1981, he returned to the historic village of Arrow Rock with his partner, Chet Breitwieser, and they, along with Bunny Thomas, operated the historic Arrow Rock Tavern for many years. With Page Williams, he also owned and operated the Black Sheep Inn. In Arrow Rock, he and Chet restored a number of historic homes, and Clay served as mayor, president of the Historic Arrow Rock Council, president of the board of the Federated Church, on the boards of the Friends of Arrow Rock, the Lyceum Theatre, the Volunteer Fire Department, the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation and the Board of Architectural Review. Clay helped author and establish Arrow Rock's Zoning Ordinances and Restoration Guidebook.
In 1984, he returned to Troy, Missouri, to assist his mother and brother in the operation of the Kemper Marsh Millard Funeral Homes for the next 12 years. There, he served as president of the Rotary Club; was distinguished as a Paul Harris Fellow; a founder and past president of the Lincoln County Historical and Archaeological Society; secretary of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, which named him "Man of the Year" in 1992; founding member of P.A.L.S. of Lincoln County Animal Shelter; member of the University of Missouri Extension Council; recipient of the Lincoln County Historical Society Preservation Award in 1990 and Heritage Award in 1994 and a Missouri State Legislative resolution for volunteer service in 1992. In Troy, Clay and Chet purchased the historic 1832 Britton House, restoring it and saving it from demolition. The Federal home is now owned and operated as a museum with period gardens by the Lincoln County Historical Society.
After selling the Kemper Marsh Millard Funeral Homes, he owned and operated the Shoreland Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks. Later, he sold the resort, as his true passion was historic preservation, acquiring an old building in Rocheport, Missouri. With Steve Shelton, he operated The Lampworks, specializing in period lighting restoration, antiques and garden accessories.
Preceded in death by his parents, he is survived by his devoted partner of 26 years, Chet Breitwieser of Columbia, Missouri; his brother, Jim Marsh of Salt Lake City, Utah; his sister-in-law, Altha Marsh of Troy, Missouri; three cousins, Paula Zalar, Jay Jones, and Gary Jones; other relatives and a host of friends.
A memorial service will be held at Kemper Marsh Millard Funeral Home in Troy, Missouri, at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, April 7. Memorials are suggested to P.A.L.S. of Lincoln County Animal Shelter and The Friends of Arrow Rock.
A second memorial service will be held at the Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, Missouri, at 2:00 P.M., Easter Sunday, April 8. Memorials are suggested to The Friends of Arrow Rock, the Lyceum Theatre and the Saline County Animal League.
Additional information provided per family recompense.