Obituary of Sylvester Clay
Sylvester Clay was born December 23, 1936 in Duncan, Mississippi to the late Cleveland and
Alberta Parker Clay. He departed this life peacefully on March 24, 2020 at Cooper Hospital in
Camden, NJ. He was 83 years old.
Sylvester attended his primary schooling in Mississippi & completed his secondary education
after moving to Pittsburgh in 1952. His mother died in 1939 when he was 2 years old. At 15,
he and his brothers moved to Pittsburgh to live with his Mom's sister, Mattie Howard. Aunt
Mattie's love for family led her to raise many of her sister's children and grandchildren due to
her sibling's dying at younger ages. This is where Sylvester learned his love for family.
He & his brothers grew into manhood alongside his 1st cousin's Will Henderson, Sam Howard, & Vera Howard
as brothers and sisters. Sylvester attended and was baptized with his brother Alvester on October
11, 1953 at Trinity Missionary Baptist Churchin Pittsburgh under the pastoral leadership of Reverend W.W.
Sylvester met the love of his life, Dorothy Ann Lynch while working in a Jewish community
grocery store in Pittsburgh. Dorothy had come to Pittsburgh from North Carolina to find better
work in 1956 but later moved to Philadelphia.
Sylvester went to Philadelphia in September 1957 to visit his girlfriend and though not
planned, never returned to Pittsburgh to live. He married 'Dottie', as he affectionately called
her on February 24, 1958 and they were married for over 62 years at the time of his passing.
To this union three children were born, Cleveland Sylvester, Caryn Ann & Lisa Ellen.
Sylvester & Dottie raised their family on Margaret St in the close knit Frankford section of
Philly with family & friends nearby (literally across the street, up the street, & around several
corners). This home was the center of many family gatherings & family fellowship over the
years. Sylvester & Dottie instilled 'family' into everything they did. Drive-in movies & family
vacations up & down the east coast was the norm. Visiting and attending family functions
from Pittsburgh, to New York, to Delaware, to Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois and even to
Los Angelos & Fresno California where he drove the family to meet his father (& Disney World
of course) in 1976. Following this trip Sylvester & Dottie moved the family to Willingboro NJ.
Sylvester was a dedicated family man & a hard worker. He worked as a machine operator for
over 15 years at the Keebler Biscuit company in Philadelphia. He retired from Keeblers in 1985
when they closed the Philadelphia location. He then held several jobs at various factories
landing his final position as a custodian in the Burlington Township school system. He retired
from this position after serving over 10 years in 2000.
Sylvester was preceded in death by three brothers and two sisters, Cleveland Henry Clay
(Mississippi), Margaret Smith (Chicago), Mary Ester Sing (Mississippi), Eddie Lee Clay
(California), and Alvester Clay (Pittsburgh). He leaves to cherish his memories: his wife
Dorothy L. Clay, one son Cleveland S. Clay, both in NJ, two daughters Caryn A. Crump,
Philadelphia and Lisa C. Settle (Bernard), Maryland; two brothers, Reverend James Wesley
Clay, Philadelphia and Cleotha Clay, Kansas City MO; two brother-in-laws, Herman Lynch Jr.,
Delaware and Bob Lynch, NC; six sister-in-laws, Bessie Love & Joyce Ingram (Vernon), both in
MD, Mae Frances Clark (Edward) of Illinois/NC, Avalene Lancaster (James), NC, Anna Clay, Pittsburgh,
Willie Mae Lynch, Philadelphia; eight grandkids Monique Jones (George), Henry Monroe Brown, Candice
Ellison (Ihmein), Latoya Henry (Jamar), Lyndsey Brightful, Terez Settle, Talise Settle, Te'Jour
Settle, eleven great-grandkids: Brennan Braxton, Ryan Jones, George Jones III, Inasia Ellison,
Ikera Ellison, Iyonna Ellison, Ilana Ellison, Nilaja Williams, Kimani Bowles, Amara Henry, Karson
Bo Rose; a special God-son born on his birthday Vernon Dexter 'Dusty' Ingram Jr.; his special SING
niece & nephew families, the children of his deceased sister Mary Ester,Ernestine Sing,Laverne Sing,
Gwendolyn Tucker,Margaret Berger,Calvin Sing and Debra Ausbon and a host of many, many other
special relatives and friends.
. . . DAD . . .
If we could write a story
It would be the greatest ever told.
Of a kind and loving Dad
Who had a heart of gold
We would write a million pages
But still be unable to say, just how
Much we love and miss him
Every single day
We'll remember all he taught us
We're hurt but won't be sad
because he'll send us down the answer
And he'll always be OUR DAD.
lovingly submitted, Cleve, Caryn, & Lisa
We, the family, express our heartfelt appreciation for all of the calls, texts, words of comfort
and prayers at this difficult time.
In the future after the desecration of the 2020 COVID-19 Corona virus that keeps us apart'
WE WILL CELEBRATE OUR LOVED ONE'S LIFE & LEGACY.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Sylvester Clay, please visit Tribute Store