Eris “Betty” Clayton

Eris “Betty” Clayton, 92, of Peoria, formerly of Astoria, died at 2:13 a.m. April 23, 2018, at Heddington Oaks in Peoria.

She was born Jan. 2, 1926, at home (Schuyler County), the daughter of Helen Catherine and Herschel Edward Burgard. She married veteran Gerald Leroy Clayton on Aug. 28, 1949, in Astoria. He preceded her in death in 2002.

She also was preceded in death by one son, Garth Todd, in 1986; two brothers, Carmen and James Othello; and one grandson, Justin in 2003.

Surviving are children and grandchildren, Sandra Lee Curless of Bartonville, Ben and Molly Curless and great-grandchild, Carmeron and Nate Curless; Carol Anita (and Rodger) Tarr of Okatie, S.C., Clayton Tarr and Bianca Reisdorf; and Mark Leroy (and Mary) Clayton of West Padukah, Ky., Chelsey and Jamie Brown; step-grandchildren, Adrienne and Matt Davis and Jared Burget; and step-great-grandchildren, Cooper Davis and Jaxon Burget.

Her childhood was spent following her two older brothers at work and play and attending school. She boarded in Rushville in order to attend Rushville High School. During World War II, she entered Washington University at St. Louis, where she graduated with a major in art, and then began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Frederick. Her life revolved around three themes: her family, Sheldons Grove Church and her art.

After marriage, for many years she settled into being a farm wife and helping with the farm work, serving as farm accountant. In between farm and family, she squeezed in college classes to obtain her teacher’s certificate and began teaching third grade at Astoria Grade School. Gradually, she achieved one of her dreams and became the art teacher at Astoria Schools, pushing around her “art on a cart” to grade school classrooms and providing art classes to high school students. During this time, she propelled her students into painting the lunchroom mural at the high school and making sure their work was represented in Regional art shows. After 20 years of teaching, she retired; however, she did not give up on her art. She offered private and group art lessons and helped manage the Art Show for Astoria’s annual Homecoming. She tested her entrepreneurial skills, designing and marketing greeting cards and hand-lettering scripture verses.

She was a committed member of Sheldons Grove Church, participating in the many charitable activities up until she moved from her home in Astoria to reside in Peoria, near her oldest daughter Sandra.

Services were held Saturday at Shawgo Memorial Home in Astoria with Cynthia Helle officiating. Burial was in Sheldons Grove Cemetery.

Memorials may be made in Betty’s memory to the Sheldons Grove United Methodist Church.

Condolences may be sent to


Published in the Astoria South Fulton Argus on 4/25/2018 (pending) and 5/2/2018


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