Clayton Jackson, who taught auto tech, wood shop, power tech, drafting and math at Wayland High School for 35 years, died Saturday. He was 74.
Jackson, who was a 1966 graduate of Wayland High School and the son of the longtime Wayland Township Supervisor, was inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame two years after he retired. He had taught at Wayland from 1971 to 2006, first teaching auto shop at an old gas station.
He started programs such as cumputer aided design (CAD), after graduating from Ferris State College. He served in the Michigan National Guard from 1970 through 1991, played Santa for kids at Pine Rest Hospital, was a lifetime member of the 3rd/126th Infantry Alumni Association, was vice president and longtime member of the Upper Rabbit River Association.
He joined the National Guard in 1970, retiring as Sgt. First Class after 20 years of service. In school, he was known as the “Gentleman Farmer.” His happy place was on a tractor and out in the fields. The highlight of Clayton’s life was the birth of his beloved daughter, Amanda.
He and his wife, Elda, traveled to Kenya on a mission trip. He volunteered as a 4-H leader, was a member of the Michigan Polled Hereford Association, helped as a youth leader and head usher for Leighton United Methodist Church, and was also a leader for Boy Scouts in Wayland.
Shortly after his retirement, Clayton found out that he needed a liver transplant and was only given three days to live. He had liver transplant surgery in June 2007,, prompting him to spread the word about how to become organ donors through the “Gift of Life” organ donation program.
His wife indicated he began to suffer kidney failure at the beginning of this year and he had been on dialysis.
Visitation with Clayton’s family and friends will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at Kubiak-Cook Funeral Home, 312 N. Main St. Wayland. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, with an hour of visitation prior at Leighton Church, 4180 2nd St., Caledonia, MI 49316. Interment will be at Hill Cemetery.
In honor of Clayton and in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Gift of Life.