Remembering Clay: Messages from Family and Friends

My name is Lance Fancher, I am the President/ CEO for Shawntech Communications. In 1997 My wife Amelia and myself attended the Course for President with the Center for Entrepeneur Education. Bill Matthews hosted the two-day Course; Clay spent time emphasizing the importance of having a mentor during his portion of the class. After the Course was over, we were all standing around conversing and I walked up to Clay and introduced myself. During our conversation I asked Clay if he would mentor me and he paused for a few second looking a little astonished, he then proceeded to tell me that I shocked him because no one hand ever approached him after he had discussed the importance of having a mentor and he let me know that he was very impressed. Clay said of course I will mentor you; he gave me the number for his secretary, after which I spent two years under his tutelage. This time with him changed my understanding of how you Lead a successful organization. Best Wishes to Mary and the family. Thank you for sharing a very incredible man with us.

~ Lance Fancher

I loved seeing Clay at the UD basketball games. He was always SO relaxed, especially when the Flyers were winning! I talked to him at the games, typically during the halftime events, and he was consistently gracious and engaging. I/we all are going to miss his thoughtful and warm presence. He truly made a difference in all our lives...and most certainly mine!

~ Thomas Lasley

I had the privilege of crossing paths with Clay numerous times throughout my years at Aileron, where my family had been employed for quite some time. During those encounters, Clay consistently exhibited kindness and a remarkable ability to recall my business's name and our previous conversations. His profound grasp of my business's challenges and future prospects was truly remarkable. Even in a brief five-minute conversation, Clay could astutely dissect our business needs and leave us with profound food for thought. It was an incredible experience to be heard and engaged with in such a meaningful way. Clay possessed qualities of mild-manneredness, thoughtfulness, and patience that left a lasting impression on me. My heartfelt condolences extend to his family during this difficult time. May Clay's memory continue to stir the emotions that keep him close to your hearts, with the passage of time transforming those emotions from tears to smiles.

~ Bernard Dalichau

Some people are genuinely generous. Although I never met Clay in person, it's undeniable that he lived generously. Stories shared from coworkers; personal encounters with friends that knew him; men and women he mentored; the countless people he affected supporting education, single mothers, the hungry, and anyone in need, all live on as witness to his generosity. As the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton, I have seen firsthand the families whose homes are safer, warmer, and healthier because of Clay. Older adults and people with disabilities are able to live in dignity in their own home rather than a care facility because of the generosity of the Mathile family. I know that Clay has found Peace. I pray that all who love him do, as well, knowing that innumerable lives are better today because Clay truly cared about people.

~ Norman Miozzi

Clay and Mary were 2 of a small group of people who set the trajectory and direction for International Samaritan. Very few non-profit organizations survive and thrive for 30 years and because of the Mathile family, International Samaritan has done just that! Today there are nearly 1,000 scholars and their families in 8 countries who have a strong possibility of breaking the cycle of poverty and life foraging in dumps for a livelihood. You are doing God’s will in this life. Clay will forever be a man I admired and attempt to emulate.

~ Scott Savage

It is with love, admiration, and a profound sense of gratitude for Mr. Clay Mathile, we give our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the entire family. We pray his memory and legacy, and the grace of God comforts your hearts and eases your grief now and in the coming days. Clay was generous to our community and personally kind to us. My husband and I will never forget that kindness and daily try to emulate both the generosity and kindness we saw in him, and still see in Mary and the family. God bless you all!

~ Marya Rutherford Long & Lawrence Long

My condolences to MaryAnn and the rest of the family. I received much more from the Mathile family than I ever provided in Risk Manager services from 2005 to 2014. Clay's eternal optimism and philanthropic spirit redirected my life to philanthropy and conservation. The leadership tools obtained from Aileron courses are still in use today as the Pennsylvania Firefly Festival Inc. goes into its 12th year.

~ Ken Butler

Many great memories of Clay. One that stands out was when we were done with a business meeting at Iams. Clay turned to me asked me how my Mother was doing. He took time to remember my mother from our days at C-J and stunned everyone in the meeting with his care and concern. We will miss his heart for encouraging, empowering, and guiding so many in the world.

~ Kevin Foley

The family of Richard E. Baumhardt sends its condolences on the passing of Clay Mathile. Clay hired my dad, Richard E. Baumhardt, during the fast growing years of the Iams Company. Clay had great respect for my father's HR experience and Clay was a most generous individual outside of work as well. Clay's friendship was also evident in many past conversations with my parents. We send our thoughts, prayers, and appreciation for Clay Mathile and sympathy to the Mathile family. Sincerely, The Family of Richard and Carolyn Baumhardt

~ Anne (Baumhardt) Bowles

I was fortunate enough to get to facilitate a number of Course for President programs at Aileron. Clay would make an appearance at most of them. Part of my job was helping to manage the Q & A that would follow Clay's remarks. I remain impressed with Clay's genuine, sincere interest in the different entrepreneurs. And it always felt like he spent the most time with the smallest or youngest business owners. Looking back, I think he knew these people needed reassurance and more confidence that they could be successful. It's hard to imagine that Clay ever lacked confidence. I'm guessing, like all of us he had his moments. He clearly wanted these people who were "putting their capital at risk to employ other people", the "most moral thing" they could do, to know they could succeed.

~ Ed Eppley

When Clay was in the room, there was always something to be learned. He lived an apostolic life. The Foodbank is and will remain forever grateful for his influence on our mission. Our first call when 15 tornadoes devastated this area was to the Mathile Foundation. Because they lead with yes, with regards to this community...they were the reason we could lean into disaster and recovery work with full force. Clay's memory will continue to live on through his family. We salute you Clay, to a life well lived.

~ Michelle Riley

Clay was such an amazing mentor. He has impacted so many lives for the better. He had a way of seeing the best in you and bringing it out. He would encourage and support you far beyond most. He could help you believe in yourself. Dream No Little Dreams was one of the most impactful books I have ever read. He truly changed my life.

~ Eric Rich II

Seeing Clay at Notre Dame tailgates and enjoying himself while having a Pine Club hamburger and talking about his children… He had many accomplishments in life but you could tell his family was his most treasured achievement.

~ Georganne Wolfe

It was through my children attending St Christopher School that I met Clay, Mary and a couple of their kids. A few of their grandchildren were in the same class as my kids. My initial interaction with Clay was in his role of grandfather and the father of my friend. He was kind and humble as he and Mary blended in and interacted with the other proud parents and grandparents supporting their family at school and parish activities. Having the privilege of being a School Counselor at an inner city school in Dayton, I experienced Clay and Mary’s generosity and passion of helping others grow and succeed through their family foundation. The grant I received enhanced a school-wide character building program. The students loved it! They provided feedback to chart the impact on the student-body’s sense of community and culture. Some students volunteered to collect and analyze the data that was reported back to the foundation. When I would see Clay and Mary, they talked and listened to me, showing genuine interest in how the students were progressing and the importance of Catholic education. It was an honor and a highlight in my career to receive the grant. Years later, in a different school position, I had the amazing opportunity to attend annual faculty retreats at Aileron. It was the perfect way for the faculty to begin a fresh school year! The beautiful, serene and inspirational environment helped us to organize, plan and begin implementation of our goals for the year. Thank you Clay and Mary for sharing your time, talents and treasures with me and my family. I look forward to seeing how your support of the Dayton area and others around the world evolves for generations. Lastly, my favorite memory of Clay is being at his house and seeing a picture of he and Mary with Pope John Paul! I stopped in my tracks and had difficulty lifting my chin from the floor! I had to focus on the party but was so excited knowing the presence of the Holy Spirit was in our midst! I enjoyed our conversation about his experience with the Pope. Thank you!!

~ Carol Eifert

Kind, smart, generous, empathetic, servant leader Clay Mathile, we salute and honor your contributions to the greater Dayton community. Taking the scripture of Saint Luke (12:48) to heart, “To whom much is given, much will be required,” Clay’s commitment to the region’s children, families, and neighborhoods will be felt for years to come. With his wife MaryAnn, Clay created the Mathile Family Foundation. His purposeful leadership built a foundation unique to our region in its thoughtful approach to understanding and helping to solve the most intractable problems of our day: child hunger, poverty, lack of education, and disinvested neighborhoods. Leading with humility, Clay sought out individuals working in these areas close to the ground to learn more about the people and problems he hoped his foundation could help solve. Perhaps he did not set out to be a role model for others, but his wisdom and knowledge were certainly embraced by the staff at CityWide. We have had the pleasure of working with Clay and the Mathile Family Foundation for many years developing programs and projects that create opportunity and empower people to be their best selves. Clay’s leadership and investment in organizations serving West Dayton families and the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood have been transformative and led to the investment we witness today. It was a privilege to know and work alongside him.

~ The Team at CityWide Development

I remember my first experience of meeting with Clay privately for a 2 hour lunch at the Foundation office. The food was from The Amber Rose, one of his favorite places. I learned a lot about Clay the man that day. He exemplified a quote by Prieto “ All the gold in the world has no significance. That which is lasting are the thoughtful acts which we do for our fellow man.” Clay will never be forgotten as a compassionate and courageous man who loved his family and community. Rest Well Clay!

~ Allen H Elijah

I could write a book on the impact being an employee of Clay Mathile for ten years had on me. To keep it short, I will give you one example of his core beliefs and how they affected me. Be honest. Do your best. Treat others with dignity and respect. I was a young punk veterinarian given the privilege of being the Animal Care Center Veterinarian in Lewisburg Ohio. As a conservative businessperson Clay made it well known he did not want third party intervention in the Iams Company. What did I do? I told his Technical Services leader Diane Hirakawa not only did he need third part intervention, but it happened to be the Federal Government! I was being honest. I was doing my best. I probably fumbled the last one with respect. But I didn't get fired! To this day I follow the same beliefs Clay got from God and use them in my business. Thank you, Clay!

~ John Russell Burr

I'm a three time participant in the President's Course! (slow learner). The first time I took the course was back in the early days of Mr. Mathile's programs, pre-Aileron, when he would personally teach the courses to many of us local entrepreneurs. He was still actively running IAMS and it's amazing in hindsight that he invested his limited time in passing along his knowledge while managing such a heavy professional workload. The first time I met Mr. Mathile was in 1992 at an Entrepreneur of the Year program and I was so young and nervous about being a candidate for the award. I was in my mid-twenties and uncomfortable being a part of the awards program so I chose to just sit in a corner by myself. Mr. Mathile probably noticed my situation and came over and sat down to talk with me. He said that he and his wife owed a small business that started with about 12 staff members. He was supportive and encouraging and took a lot of time with me that day. He never said who he was or that at that point in his life the level of success that he had already achieved. I learned a lot about what being both successful and humble looked like that day. I know my situation was not unique, Clay treated all of us with respect and encouragement throughout the 30 years that I had the opportunity to cross paths with this great man. You will be missed and your impact on our community and the small business leaders in the region will continue to be felt for decades and decades to come. Rest in peace.

~ Michael Hosford

I started working at Iams while in college in 1987 and remember meeting Clay for the first time, he was soft spoken and a personable man who was genuinely interested in me. A few years later I was promoted to manage National Events and Clay stopped in my office to give me some personal advice. “Manage your job like it’s your own business and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just don’t make the same mistakes twice.” I’m not sure where I could have gone and been empowered to do a job with so much responsibility at such a young age, but Clay had a way of making you feel valued and wanting to do more. It’s not even possible to say how much Clay and Mary meant to me and my family for the opportunity they gave me. The scope and breadth of how many lives they and the entire Mathile family has impacted not only in the Dayton community but throughout the world through Aileron, World Hunger and other Philanthropic Endeavors will continue on for years to come. Thank you, Clay! Rest In Peace and God Bless the Mathile Family!

~ Dale Barger

To Mary and family, Sincerest condolences to you. I am thankful for the generosity of the Mathile Foundation to Womanline during the 1980’s and 1990’s when I served as Director. Clay’s commitment to the Dayton community is a legacy for future generations of Mathiles to continue.

~ Linda Mercuri Fischbach

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Contribute to Clay’s Legacy

Friends and family are encouraged to share memories, stories, or condolences. Those seeking other ways to contribute can support Clay’s philanthropic legacies, Aileron or The Mathile Institute, at the link below.

Contribute to Clay’s Legacy