Family, friends recall Ted Claydon, lover of airplanes, one of last ‘backroom philosophers’

  • Ted Claydon is seen at his home in Worthington. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/28/2022 8:54:17 PM
Modified: 1/28/2022 8:53:00 PM

WORTHINGTON — Edward “Ted” Claydon, a man who dedicated himself to working on airplanes, served in World War II and found love again late in life, died on Jan. 6. He was 100 years old and is being remembered for his contributions and commitment to the town’s Historical Society and life.

“He never strove to be anything that he wasn’t,” said Jerrilee Cain, Claydon’s partner since 2014. “He wanted to just be himself.”

Claydon was Worthington’s oldest resident and the holder of its Boston Post Cane, and he died at Bay State Hospital of heart failure.

Claydon, whose father was a dispatch rider in the British Army during World War I, spent much of his life on Long Island, where he worked for American Airlines. He called Worthington home since 1984 and first came to town in 1966.

Claydon was married to his wife, Muriel, for nearly 70 years. After Muriel’s death, he began a relationship with Cain when he was in his 90s. The pair lived together at the time of his death.

“We genuinely loved each other without any ego,” said Cain, a retired Jungian art therapist. “We had a beautiful life together.”

She also described Claydon as a “good person … with all of the ramifications of what a good person is.”

Claydon was thrown a 100th birthday party in October by the Worthington Historical Society. He helped spearhead the construction of its building and was head of the society for at least a decade.

Kent Hicks was hired to build the society building alongside David Veleta, and he said that Claydon was “there every day when we were building.”

“We just really enjoyed working with him,” Hicks said.

Like Cain, Hicks also noted Claydon’s kindness.

“It was always great to see Ted,” he said. “One of those people who just lights up a room.”

He said Claydon was one of Worthington’s last living “backroom philosophers,” a group of men who used to socialize in the backroom of Corners Grocery.

Claydon’s son Tom Claydon said he “was probably the most honest person I ever met.”

He also noted his father’s hard work and creativity and said that he will miss consulting with his father about projects, and his father consulting with him in turn.

“Just everyday stuff,” he said. “He was great.”

Claydon was also remembered fondly by Laura Harris, one of his grandchildren.

“You could always count on him,” she said. “He was always there for you for sure.”

She said Claydon was there for her son Mason McCallum, who recently graduated from college, and that in her last conversation with her grandfather, he told her to tell Mason that he was proud of him.

“I just looked up to him,” Harris said. “He was always it to me.”

McCallum recalled visiting his great-grandfather for the first time when he was 8 years old, and how he showed him around his property. McCallum was visiting from Newport News, Virginia, and it was the first time he was in an area where there wasn’t a house next door.

“I went fishing for the first time with him,” McCallum said, noting that his great-grandfather taught him to have fun in nature.

Claydon was his family’s rock, he said, whom people would go to for advice, and he helped to guide his family through the loss of his aunt and his great-grandmother.

Another memory McCallum shared was of his grandfather taking him to Corners Grocery.

“Everyone there really knew who he was and they respected him,” he said. “I could tell that when I was 8 years old.”

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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