Clay's Story

Clay grew up in Forney, Texas. He lived in a house on Center Street with his parents, Barry and Linda, and his older brothers, Casey and Corby. Clay's childhood was like most in Forney, Texas. Among his greatest interests, sports and music always stood out. You could often find Clay playing basketball down the street at the Jacob's residence, where he perfected his slumped-over dribbling style and his floating lay-ups. If he was missing from this basketball court, you would most likely find him involved in a football game at the Forney elementary school playground, which was across the street from his home. In these games, you could bet that he would be playing quarterback. As Clay grew older, his love of sports continued. In middle school and in his freshman year, he played key roles on the football and basketball teams and ran hurdles for the track squad. Clay was a fan of all types of music, but he especially loved rock n' roll. At any given time, you might hear Motley Crue or Guns n Roses streaming from his room. If you peaked into his room, you might even catch him singing along, pretending to have a microphone in his hand.

However, with all of Clay's interests, family and friends were at the center of his life. The bond between Clay and his parents was extraordinary. He was always sure to tell his parents that he loved them. He spent a great deal of time with them and, unlike many young people, seemed to genuinely cherish these moments. Clay's relationship with his brothers was similarly enviable. Being the youngest of three, Clay seemed to hold a special place in the hearts of his older brothers. Because they were older, Casey and Corby played many roles in Clay's life. They were his brothers and his friends, but also his mentors and role models. The dedication Clay showed to his family was matched only by his commitment to his friends. Most people are fortunate to have a handful of close friends, but the number of friendships that Clay maintained was unmatched. Clay's personality and enthusiasm for life were contagious. If given the opportunity to spend time with Clay, you knew you would spend the majority of that time laughing. Clay could find humor in almost anything. His closest friends might remember spending countless hours watching old sports videos at his home. Every 30 seconds or so, Clay would burst into laughter and point out some mundane detail that, on first glance, would seem very ordinary. However, after Clay added his personal touch, those mundane sports highlights were transformed into the funniest video clips on earth. These laughs provide just one example of the countless ways that Clay brightened the lives of everyone around him.

In the fall of 1995, Clay was a member of the Junior Varsity football team at Forney High School. One day in late August, the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams were working through drills on the practice field just behind Forney High School, which was the site of football practice for the Forney Jackrabbits every day during the fall. However, on this day, the focus of the players and coaches would quickly turn away from the impending football season. In the blink of an eye, lightning struck the practice field and sent the entire team plummeting to the earth. The majority of these players quickly regained their bearings and fled to the protection of the nearby field house. However, a few of them were injured and remained on the ground. Very shortly, it was clear that the aftershocks of this tragic event would not be limited to injuries and shaken nerves. This strike of lightning took the life of Clay Jones and changed the lives of everyone around him forever.


Clay Jones
Clay Jones
6/5/79 - 9/2/95

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