Donald “Jap” E. Clay, 67, of Ann Arbor, formerly of Dowagiac, passed away on Tuesday, March 06, 2018, at Heartland Health Care Center in Ann Arbor.
Donald was born to Moses Clay Sr. and Lula Bell (Fluckes) Holts in Percy, Mississippi on October 23, 1950.
Donald graduated from Dowagiac Union High in 1968. Due to his athletic ability he excelled in football, basketball, and wrestling, he was awarded a scholarship to attend college, but instead, he chose to enlist in the United State Marines. As in everything he did, he gave it his all. Donald served two tours of duty in Vietnam, during which time he was awarded a Medal of Commendation, a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his bravery. Donald was wounded while protecting his fellow soldiers. As with many Vietnam Veterans, he came home a different man than when he left, Donald battled with PTSD and the effects of Agent Orange for the rest of his life; it affected his health both mentally and physically.
He is preceded by his father Moses Clay Sr.; stepfather, Joe Holts; brothers, Lamar Clay and Essex Adams.
Donald is survived by his mother, Lula B. Holts of Eau Claire, Michigan; brothers, Moses (Joeann) Clay Jr. of Park Forrest, Illinois and Melvin Castille of Colorado Springs, Colorado; sisters, Najwa (Dwayne) Johnson of Las Vegas Nevada; Connie Zine Hill of Detroit, Michigan; Sandra (Eli) McDaniel of Indianapolis, Indiana; Alice Walton of Cleveland, Ohio and Catherine (Finch) McGee of Rancho Cucamonga, California; step-siblings, Grace Holts, Diane Wesby and Joseph Holts; a special niece, Tiffany (Bryan) Kaplan of New Boston, Michigan along with a large extended family.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 11:00 am at the Second Baptist Church, 203 South Paul Street in Dowagiac. A time of visitation will begin one hour prior to the service at the church. An interment will follow at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.