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Mr. William Rodney "Rod" Clay

Obituary for Mr. William Rodney "Rod" Clay

January 12, 1946 - March 10, 2019
Easley, South Carolina | Age 73


Reverend William Rodney "Rod" Clay passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, March 10, 2019 after his battle with Alzheimer's.

Rod was born on January 12, 1946 in Birmingham, Alabama to the late Margaret Criswell and Clarence Woodrow Clay.

The second oldest of four boys, Rod grew up as an avid athlete, an outdoor adventurer and talented handyman. Rod graduated from Auburn University in 1968 with a degree in chemical engineering. He then enlisted in the United States Army and served our country for 6 years while stationed in Korea during the Vietnam War. After the war, he returned to Auburn to earn his master's degree in science and to solidify his love of Auburn sports, especially watching Tiger football every Fall.

Rod started his career in engineering with Air Products in Pensacola, Florida. It was there that he met his first wife, the late Mary Ann Fillingim, and mother to his children, William McIlwaine Clay (Jenny) of Atlanta and Joanna Elizabeth Clay of Easley.

Feeling his Lord's call to the ministry, Rod and Mary Ann moved to Jackson, Mississippi for Rod to attend Reformed Theological Seminary. Rod's first pastorate took them to a dear group of saints at the Dillingham Presbyterian Church outside of Asheville, North Carolina. He served for 8 years before being called to Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville where he felt blest to serve that beloved congregation for the next 15 years. In 2002, Rod suffered the loss of Mary Ann after her courageous battle with cancer and in 2007 Rod moved to his final pastorate - another dear group of believers at the First Presbyterian Church of Florala, Alabama.

In 2008 he found renewed love when he married Nancy Caroline Farr. Rod and Nancy joined their families with a combined 9 children (step-children Rebecca Johnson Bishop (Rusty), Nathaniel Johnson (Rebekah), Elizabeth Johnson Madrid (Willy), Timothy Johnson (Avery), Tabitha Johnson Shore (Taylor), Benjamin Johnson, Micah Johnson) and 14 grandchildren. He and Nancy have had many adventures in their 11 years of marriage including moves to Florida and back to South Carolina, travels to Hawaii, the Caribbean and France and spending time surrounded by their family.

In addition to his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, Rod is survived by his wife, Nancy Farr Clay, his brothers Bud Clay (Sara Jo) of Pensacola, Florida; and Neil Clay (Dede) and Barry Clay (Susan) of Birmingham, Alabama.

Rod's family will miss his strong, soothing voice; his calming presence; his spiritual leadership and powerful prayers. He served the Lord throughout his life in his work, mission trips and humble nature. We rejoice in knowing that our beloved Rod has left the trials of this life and is basking in the glory of his Lord and Savior forevermore.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2019 at the Chapel of Robinson Funeral Home - Powdersville Road with burial to follow in M.J. "Dolly" Cooper Veterans Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 11:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. at the funeral home, prior to the service.

Rod's desire was that all would know and love his Savior. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Gideons International at

Condolences may be expressed online at or in person at Robinson Funeral Home - Powdersville Road, which is assisting the family.

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Robinson Funeral Home & Crematory - Powdersville Road

1425 Powdersville Road
Easley, SC 29642
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