He said one of the students his father had helped wanted to donate money to Villanova in order to dedicate a classroom to him. The dean at the time, James Danko, made some calls to see whether anyone else was interested. He was flooded with responses.
In 2007, Villanova named in his honor the Clay Center at Bartley Hall, which helps business students with academic, personal, and professional development.
Born at the start of the Great Depression, Mr. Clay was 18 months old when his father died. At age 11, he went to work at the Bruder Farm in Springfield, then switched to the Bruder family's other business - MAB Paints - while attending West Catholic High School.
His boss, Thomas Bruder, took an interest in him and asked whether he had thought about college. Mr. Clay said he had, but his family couldn't afford it. So Bruder picked up the tab for him to attend Villanova.
Mr. Clay is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughters Anne Barr, Emily Pinto, Christine Gorka, Connie Pelesh and Monica Clay; sons Alvin III, Anthony, Martin, Lawrence, and Charles; and 36 grandchildren.
A viewing is set for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 26, and 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 27, at the Church of St. Francis Assisi, Saxer Avenue and Rolling Road, Springfield, followed by a Funeral Mass. Interment will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Springfield.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Camilla Hall Infirmary, Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Box 100, Immaculata, Pa. 19334.
Contact Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @j_linq.