Jerrit L. Clayton
July 30, 1946 - March 24, 2021
Jerrit L. Clayton, a longtime Zionsville funeral director and community leader, died at his Zionsville home Wednesday afternoon March 24, 2021 with his wife and son by his side; he was 74. “Pop”, “Digger”, “Paw Paw”, or “Big J” as he became affectionately known was born July 30, 1946 in Sullivan, Indiana. He was raised in Jasonville, the only son of the late David Arthur and Barbara Jean (Bolton) Clayton. After graduating from Shakamak High School in 1964 and a year at Indiana State, he came to Indianapolis to complete his education as a funeral director and embalmer at the Indiana College of Mortuary Science, living and working for Bill Usher at Usher Funeral Home on Indianapolis’s westside.
To ensure that opportunities existed for people with limited means, never forgetting his humble Greene Co. roots, in 1999 Jerrit created the Isaac Ball Fellowship through the Indiana Funeral Education Foundation. What started as one man, $1000, and a simple dream has flourished into 160+ Isaac Ball Fellows, nearly a quarter-million dollars in scholarship money, and a legacy that will continue to forward opportunities to learn without financial hardship as the Ball Fellowship now awards annually a $5,000 scholarship to one worthy future Indiana funeral service student.
Jerrit volunteered his time and expertise in 1988 to the Indiana Funeral Directors Association, continuing to serve its cause until the final years of his life. He was its 115th President in 1995-1996 and represented Hoosier funeral service as NFDA’s Indiana Policy Board Member for 8 years. His volunteer heart and investment of his time created lasting friendships that made not only his work, but also his life abundantly full. Dad and Mom travelled the country advocating for the value of caring for the living and the dead, and together lived a remarkable life.
A memorial service honoring his life, inclusive of Masonic rites, will be held at 3 pm, Saturday, April 3, 2021 at the Palomino Ball Room, 481 S. 1200 E. Zionsville, with visitation from 1 to 3 pm. A private family burial will take place at Zionsville Cemetery.
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