Community leader, businessman Frank David Claybar remembers Orange County’s impact – Orange Leader
Community leader, businessman Frank David Claybar remembers Orange County’s impact
Posted at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 13, 2022
Orange County mourns the death of a longtime businessman who was also known for his contributions and service to the area in which he lived.
Frank David Claybar, 74, died on October 6 at his home in Orange. Services are set for 11 a.m. Friday at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange.
Claybar, president and COO of Claybar Funeral Home, learned early on to give back, and he did, said Peggy Claybar, his wife of 54 years.
“He used to say, all these people who say ‘they’ need to do something. He looks like we’re ‘they’,” Peggy said.
Claybar took this to heart and strove to do what needed to be done.
Many years ago, funeral homes were in the ambulance business. Claybar had the foresight to know that the ambulance service needed to be more professional. He began training his employees in medical emergencies and emergency medical service.
Under his leadership, Claybar Funeral Home was the first ambulance company in the United States to purchase and use modular ambulances, which are now the industry standard and currently used in Orange County.
Kenneth Wheeler, former executive director of Orange County Ambulance Service, said Claybar will be commemorated as the founding father of Orange County Ambulance Services.
“David was always there through his faithful and selfless dedication to the employees and citizens of Orange County, from the beginning of September 29, 1980, to the closing of Orange County Ambulance in June 2006,” Wheeler said in the obituary. Clay bar.
Claybar was also responsible for bringing Acadian Ambulance to Texas,” Peggy said.
The Orange native loved business and enjoyed building businesses, she added, saying he owned a medical equipment business at one point.
“He was a workaholic, to say the least,” she said. “He did so much for so many people every day. He’s always been like that.
A funeral director and licensed embalmer, he spent several years in the 1960s and 1970s as president and general manager of Claybar Funeral Home.
The couple owned and operated Orange Forest Lawn and Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, perpetual care cemeteries in Orange.
He owned The Sportsman Shop, a retail boat dealership that later became Hodge Boats and Motors.
David was a board member for 25 years and won Sportsman of the Year in 2000 for the Sabine Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. He also served on the Orange City Council for six years and was a past and youngest President of the Rotary Club of Orange.
David and Peggy met as children, growing up six blocks apart.
“We had been together since kindergarten. Literally, that’s where we really met. Our parents knew each other. We met at Presbyterian day school,” Peggy said, adding that they had been best friends for 70 years.
And even when they went out with other people, they found themselves together on two dates. When they were both 19, they decided they didn’t want to be with anyone else and got married.
The couple had two sons and a number of grandchildren and other family members.
Peggy chose to return to college late in life and became a nurse in her 50s. Claybar liked that she was in the medical field.
“He liked me working,” she said. “I think my work has kept him in some semblance of contact with the medical world. He loved the medical world.
Claybar was able to stay connected to the outside world through their after-work conversations at the end of the day.
An avid outdoorsman, Orange County Judge John Gothia first met Claybar when Claybar opened The Sportsman Shop.
Gothia has been with Ducks Unlimited for more than 30 years and knows about Claybar’s involvement, he said.
The Claybar family, Gothia said, is involved in the community.
“He set a good precedent for his kids,” Gothia said, adding that Claybar taught his kids to give back at a young age.
He said Claybar is one of the types of people who when something needs to be done, he gets it done.
“He leaves a lasting mark on Orange County,” Gothia said.
— Written by Marie Meaux