Carlene Marilyn Butler Clayton, 68, found peace and rest in the arms of our Lord Tuesday, August 21, 2018 after a ten month battle with pancreatic cancer. Her timing was impeccable. She held on to see everyone through their first day of school just like she had in previous years. This being the first year in 44 years not to be present on the first day of school as an employee of Rusk ISD. She was devoted to her family, friends, faculty, and students until her last day. Her legacy of tenacity, perseverance and determination will have a lasting impact on all she touched.
Mrs. Clayton was the greatest of advocates for children and public education. She was known throughout the community for her warmth and compassion. She began her career in the classroom in Tyler ISD. With her love for her hometown and her passion for students and future Eagle graduates, she devoted her life to educating and loving many generations of Rusk students. Mrs. Clayton was a junior high school teacher who taught Language Arts at Rusk Junior High and went on to become an assistant principal and principal of Rusk Junior High. She retired in May as the principal at Rusk Intermediate School, where she served the past 12 years. With 44 years in the district, Rusk ISD was her home away from home. She spent many years teaching the youth at First Baptist Church Rusk and much of her time throughout the years sponsoring cheerleading, UIL, GT and other school clubs. Her endless efforts to always help others and her passion for caring for families has spread throughout the community and is why she is so loved and respected by all.
Mrs. Clayton applied the same love and dedication she brought to her job to her family. She married her high school sweetheart, Bob Clayton. She was a loving mother to her son, Bart and wife, Sarah Clayton and her daughter, Ashley and husband Todd Oliver, an amazingly loving grandmother “KeKe” to her four precious grandchildren, Taryn and Trayce Clayton, and Ainsley and Clayton Oliver. She was an adored friend and leader to the RUSK ISD staff and school community. She was also a tireless activist in the community and a mighty voice for its children and families. She was so many wonderful words wrapped up into one beautiful person inside and out.
In her final days she especially cherished the blossoming friendships she has formed with other cancer warriors and survivors. In celebration of her life and her passion for caring for others, help us continue her work in supporting the future generations by raising awareness not just for pancreatic cancer, but all cancers. She was a firm believer that God has carried her through this to be witness to others. It was her mission on Earth to give a strong witness of her faith, share with others the scriptures of healing and the power of the Armour of God.
Mrs. Clayton is also survived by her sister, Nancy and Husband Steve Lee. Brother in law, Chuck Clayton, and Wife Brenda Clayton. Cousins, who were like sisters, Judy Watson and Jan Brown, and their spouses John Paul Watson and Claudia Brown, her “Forever Friends”, Joyce Whisenhunt, Rosemary Breedlove, Sharla Corley and Doris Stamey.
A funeral service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m., Friday, August 24, 2018 at the Rusk High School Coliseum with Bro. Heath Peloquin and Bro. Mick Guess officiating. Burial will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, August 23, 2018 at the First Baptist Church in Rusk. As a lifelong Rusk Eagle, she was dedicated to loving and educating students and we invite you to wear Eagle colors to honor her memory.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Carlene M. Clayton Memorial Scholarship Fund at Cherokee County Teachers Federal Credit Union, http://www.ccteachers.com.
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