Haile Clay M.S. ’64, MBA ’82 lived a life worthy of celebration. The seventh of nine children born to Charles John Clay and Emma Jean Greenfield Clay, Haile entered this world on Jan. 22, 1936, in Kinloch, Missouri. As a child, he cleaned the church where his father was a minister, participated in track and field, and despite the trials of racial segregation, Haile, like his siblings, was filled with the desire for learning, living life to the fullest, and taking advantage of every opportunity life afforded him. For Haile, it was not enough to be the first African-American engineering graduate at the University of Missouri. According to Who’s Who of College Students in America 1957–58, while he was earning his B.S. in mechanical engineering, Haile was Dunklin House secretary and governor; Men’s Residence Halls Association secretary; Association of College and University Residence Halls representative; a member on the University Health Commission; a musical presentation participant; a track and field athlete; a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; a member of Sigma Rho Sigma; a Sunday School teacher, and employed by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. Always searching for the next challenge, Haile’s education did not end in Missouri. In 1960, he moved to California’s Silicon Valley and went on to earn his M.S. in mechanical engineering and MBA from SCU. He was accepted into a Ph.D. program by the mechanical engineering department of Stanford University before deciding he had accumulated enough formal education. After Haile moved to California, he was introduced to his future wife, Jo Ann Howard, by a childhood friend that happened to be Jo Ann’s nephew. Haile and Jo Ann were soon blessed with three children of their own, Charles, Andrea, and Haile (Teddy), who will forever miss his great sense of humor, brutal honesty, dependability, and trustworthiness. A perennial business leader, entrepreneur, and inventor, Haile’s legacy in Silicon Valley includes engineering calculations used in missile telemetry systems that helped win the space race, several patents for the Atomic Energy Commission, and work at North American Aviation, Sylvania Defense Systems, and at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), where he was a leader in the field of cryogenics. Haile was known as a business consultant for minority-owned small businesses, headed Clay-Leffler Environmental Systems as CEO, was executive vice president of Bank of America in charge of supervised assets, and president of Western Farm Credit banks. Haile’s patents range from a secondary X-ray imaging technique for diagnosing a health condition that he developed to improve the diagnoses of cancer, to simple devices to improve his beloved game of golf. Haile enjoyed his family, golf, tennis, cooking, and home building. He was described as a person who “walked around the house with a tool belt on.” A sociable person, he was a fixture as a young man at Fremont Hills Country Club in Los Altos Hills, whether it was playing bridge or sets on the tennis court, and as an older gentleman, Haile could often be found holding social court in the Lobby Lounge & Bar at the Claremont Club and Spa in Oakland Hills. In between entertaining family and friends with his bigger-than-life stories and laughter and cooking BBQ and inventing new desserts—all while wearing his Apple Cap and drinking his glass of chardonnay—Haile somehow found the time to tend to his grandchildren’s music and sports lessons and make it to every one of their school and sport events. Haile Selassie Clay departed this life on Oct. 25, 2017. Leaving behind to celebrate his love, brilliance, and life are children Charles, Andrea, and Haile (Teddy); grandchildren Virginia, Madison, and Furious; siblings Roy, Charles, Imogene and Myrtle; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws. Haile now joins his parents and siblings Thaddeus, Pauline, William, and Hope in the kingdom of heaven.

08 Nov 2018