Belva LaFerne Clayton peacefully passed away on June 16,2020, at the Jerseyville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jerseyville, Illinois.
She was 98 years old.
Belva was born on February 19,1922 in Platte, South Dakota, the oldest daughter of Holda Marie (Paulson) and Nathaniel Guy Haden. Her family moved to Bloomfield, Illinois when she was seventeen years old, where she met her future husband of 66 years, Donald Lee “Jack” Clayton, who passed away on September 6, 2007. Belva graduated from Vienna High School and attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Illinois. Belva and Jack were married in Elgin, Illinois on September 20, 1941.
Belva had a very successful career in fashion and sales which began in 1952 with Queen’s-Way to Fashion, a party-plan fashion clothing company. Belva was the company’s first district leader and eventually became a regional leader over approximately 265 field associates.
Belva was a leader, historian and writer with a great interest in genealogy. Throughout her life — whether serving as the PTA President, a Girl Scout troop leader, the “Queen” of her Red Hat Society group, or a member of the Board of Directors for the Johnson County Genealogical and Historical Society — Belva was known for her drive, energy, and devotion to her community. Her charisma, infectious smile, and flair for fashion left a lasting impression on all she met; even at age 97, Belva was voted Valentine Queen by the residents and staff of Jerseyville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center where she lived.
Belva is survived by: her children – daughter Donna Clayton Bowles of Hadley, Massachusetts; son John Michael Clayton and his wife Jeanne of New Salem, Massachusetts; daughter Ann Clayton Baker and her husband James of Brighton, Illinois; four grandchildren – Michael Clayton Bowles and his wife Miyuki, Jamie Baker Greeling and her husband Ben, Mattie Marie Baker and her fiance Umair Ali, Christopher Charles Bowles and his wife Kellie; two great grandchildren – Theodore Jones Bowles and Molly Rose Greeling; and her brother Tom Haden of Bloomfield, Illinois; as well as nieces and nephews, other relatives and dear friends.
In addition to her parents and husband, Belva was preceded in death by: her brother, Dwight Haden; her sister, Jacquetta Johns, and her son-in-law Charles W. Bowles.
A celebration of Belva’s life will be conducted at a later date which will be announced. Inurnment will be in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery near Bloomfield.
Memorials may be made to: Jerseyville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1001 South State Street, Jerseyville, Illinois 62052 or St. Anthony’s Hospice, 915 East 5th Street, Alton, Illinois 62002.
Bailey Funeral Home of Vienna, Illinois is assisting in arrangements.