Cover photo for Robert E. Clay, Jr's Obituary
Robert E. Clay, Jr Profile Photo
1938 Robert 2019

Robert E. Clay, Jr

July 8, 1938 — January 15, 2019



Retired Owner, Clay Insurance Agency Dies


Robert Edward Clay, Jr., a native and lifelong resident of Smithfield, Va. died January 15, 2019. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Lucy Langhorne Gwaltney Clay, who was his kindergarten sweetheart.  He was born on July 8, 1938 and was the son of the late Robert Edward Clay and Rosa Lee Johnson Clay.  In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Robert Edward Clay, III and wife Laurie, Howard Gwaltney Clay and his wife Leigh Anne, daughter Katherine Langhorne Clay Willis and husband Ros, a sister Claire Clay Amott, six grandchildren, one great grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews. An honor graduate of Smithfield High School in 1956, Mr. Clay entered Virginia Military Institute and graduated in 1960 with a degree in civil engineering.  In 1962 he received an MBA from the Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia.  After school, he served two years with the United States Army. Returning to Smithfield, Mr. Clay joined his father as owner of Clay Insurance Agency from which he retired after forty-two years.  He was also active until his death as President of Gwaltney Realty Corporation.  During his years in Smithfield, he enjoyed and felt privileged to serve on various boards, both public and private.  A lifelong member of Trinity United Methodist Church, he served as a member and past Chairman of its Board.  Mr. Clay was a Charter Member of the Smithfield Kiwanis Club, a member of George F. Dashiell Post 49 American Legion, past member of the Smithfield Rotary Club, past President and member of Smithfield Chamber of Commerce, a member of the boards of the Bank of Smithfield, Isle of Wight Academy, and Historic Ivy Hill Cemetery.  He was a long-time member of the James River Country Club. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at 11:00 AM at the Ivy Hill Cemetery.  The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department or Ivy Hill Cemetery.  Online condolences may be registered at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert E. Clay, Jr, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree