It is with great sadness that family and friends announce the passing of lifelong Morehead resident, Billie Jean Caskey Clayton, age 87, well-known Rowan County educator/administrator and community leader, on Friday, July 8, 2016, at the Life Care Center of Morehead, where she had resided for the past three months.
She was born Feb. 26, 1929, in Morehead, to the late Lester and Ava Mae Alfrey Caskey. She graduated from Breckinridge Training School in 1948. On Feb. 1, 1951, she was united in marriage to C. G. Clayton, Jr., in Morehead where they resided until his death on April 6, 1986. Billie Jean remained on Allen Avenue until her passing.
Mrs. Clayton graduated from Morehead State University with an A.B. in Elementary Education in 1970. She earned a Masters in Library Science from the University of Kentucky and held an Ed.S. with emphasis in Administration and Supervision from Morehead State. In addition, she held certifications for Director of Pupil Personnel, Supervision, and Elementary Principalship.
Early in her working career, Billie Jean was a secretary for the Harold Bellamy Insurance Agency and Lee Clay Products. Upon graduation from college in 1970, she began a career in education by accepting a middle school teaching position in the Rowan County School System. She served as librarian at Rowan County High School and then accepted a job as Director of Pupil Personnel for the district where she worked for 12 years before being named Assistant Superintendent. She retired from the school system in 1995.
During her educational career, Billie held active memberships in the National Education Association, Kentucky Education Association, American Library Association, and the Kentucky School Media Association where she served as President Elect. She was active in Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS), and the Kentucky Association of Pupil Personnel Workers (KAPPW). She served a term as the KAPPW State President and was given a Recognition of Achievement and a Key to the City of Ashland by KAPPW. She received a KASS Recognition of Achievement in education and supervision.
During her tenure as Director of Pupil Personnel and Assistant Superintendent, Billie belonged to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the Kentucky Elementary Commission of the Southern Association, and the National Elementary Commission on Elementary Schools. Upon retirement, she received a distinguished education Achievement Award from SACS. Other awards included a Family Resource Center Award for her work on Project Extent, Project Impact, Project Reach, and Project Breakthrough.
Billie Jean had been a member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) since 1951. She served on the board of directors holding the position of chairman; taught Sunday school; served on the Stewardship Committee; served as an active deacon and was named honorary deacon.
Billie was past president of Chi Omega Alumnae, Epsilon Theta Chapter, held memberships in Phi Delta Kappa, where she was named the first female president, and Delta Kappa Gamma, where she also served a term as president. She belonged to Career Women Investors, was a charter member of the Rotary Club, and a member of the Rowan County Retired Teachers Association. She was an ESL volunteer tutor at the adult learning center. She enjoyed playing Bridge and loved reading. As evidence of her concern for children reading, family and friends honored her with a special 80th birthday surprise by donating and establishing Billie's "Literacy Bell" program at the Rowan County Public Library.
One exciting event in Billie's life that she enjoyed sharing was her national television "debut" in Jan. 1958. She and a group of friends took the theatre train out of Louisville for a short trip to New York City. It was an added adventure when Billie unexpectedly captured a spot as a contestant on the long-running game show, The Price is Right. During her appearance (which was pre Bob Barker days when Bill Cullen hosted the show), Billie placed second in winnings and won several prizes including a washer/dryer, furniture, silverware, and china.
Billie will be lovingly remembered by her son and his wife, Dr. Clarence G. III and Ann Morton Clayton, their daughter, Ava Marie, and son, Timothy Andrew of Morehead; two brothers, Alfred "Sonny" Caskey and Lester (Judy) Caskey, Jr., of Morehead; three sisters, Sharon Caskey (Dan) Fackler, Linda Caskey Dillon of Morehead, and Lana Caskey (Wayne) Craig of Mt. Sterling. She is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and special friends, among them Jack Holley, Sr., Faith Fannin, Susie Halbleib, Mary "Jerry" Maher, and William Earl Clay, who were lifelong friends of Billie and her husband.
A service celebrating Billie Jean's life was held 4 p.m. Sunday, July 10, 2016, at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals Memorial Chapel with the Rev. Merry P. Jones officiating. Burial was in Lee Cemetery.
Pallbearers: Harvey Pennington, Ted Trent, Jackie Holley, L. J. Caskey, Dr. Richard Proudfoot, Jerry Calvert, and Dr. Robert Sloss
Visitation was 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday, July 9, 2016, and after 12 p.m. Sunday at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals in Morehead.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 222 East Main Street, Morehead, KY 40351 or Rowan County Public Library, 175 Beacon Hill, Morehead, KY 40351.
View video tribute or sign guestbook at www.northcuttandson.com
Published on July 11, 2016