Promoted to Glory: Major Claiborne (Clay) Satcher
Major Claiborne (Clay) Satcher (Clay), 97, was called to his heavenly home on November 24 in Riverview, FL. He was born on January 11,1925 to Chester and Martha Robinson Satcher in Claiborne County, Mississippi.
Clay attended the Salvation Army School for Officer’s Training in Atlanta as part of the King’s Messengers session of cadets in 1947. He later met the love of his life, Virginia, and they married in 1952, together dedicating many years of service to The Salvation Army and its mission. While serving, Clay was a program director for summer camps, an assistant corps officer, and held a multitude of positions in his career. Nothing compared to his love for young people and leading them to Christ. One article called him a pioneer in Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs outreach.
In 1949, he started the Boys’ Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He built a gym to accommodate the growth the club experienced under his leadership. He received Boys’ Clubs of America certification and was active in the Boys’ Club Professional Association. He served as executive secretary of the Oklahoma Council, was a member of the BCA’s Committee on Camping, and received multiple honors such as the BCA Bronze Keystone for long and devoted service. He, along with Virginia, helped build the Red Shield Program.
He was a member of the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness in Tulsa, received the Community Service award by the Tulsa Jaycees in 1954, 1956 and 1960. He was nominated by the Jaycee’s for Tulsa’s Outstanding Young Man award (1958). The Tulsa Tribune named him on the Honor Roll (1966) for 17 years of work as director of the Salvation Army Red Shield Club program. He was director of the Tribune’s Send-A-Kid-to-Camp award, selecting the campers and operating the camp. He was responsible for integrating camps before desegregation. He was a trailblazer as he championed all and believed in camps and opportunities for all kids.
He and Virginia became the divisional youth leaders in the Washington, DC Division (1966) and spent many years working in various Boys & Girls Clubs in the Atlanta region and grew membership in these clubs from around 15 boys to over 1500. He was also Divisional Director of Boys & Girls Clubs, and Community Centers in the North and South Carolina division.
He was assigned to the Nashville Area Command, then returned to Tulsa (1978) to continue work in the Tulsa Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs and Community Centers. He returned to the Carolina Division as Director of the Clubs and Centers (1980), retiring in 1990. He didn’t stop after retirement. Clay continued to serve in the clubs and centers, headed the Disaster Response Department and joined area command working on a year-round Christmas fundraising program (2002). He served as chaplain for the Adult Rehabilitation Center (2005).
His legacy for service lives on with a sponsorship level for the Tulsa, Oklahoma Annual Boys and Girls Club Charity Golf Tournament named for him, in honor of his work with the youth – and he also has an award, “The Clay Satcher Award,” that honors a community member that supports the Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs and overall encourages Tulsa’s youth. He was an innovator and a free thinker. He was fair. He would also be the first to tell you he could not have done any of this without the love and support of his “talented pillar of strength wife,” Virginia.
Before becoming an officer, he was a semi-professional baseball player in Pascagoula, Mississippi and later included baseball in his ministry. Clay, a member of the Kiwanis Club, he was also an avid runner. He loved ‘B’ westerns and had a large movie collection. His favorite cowboy was Gene Autry – Clay made more than one trip out west to follow where the cowboys had traveled.
He was a gentle, yet strong man, a man of character and integrity who lived his life with passion and excitement. He loved God and his family. He was a trailblazer and an advocate for the disenfranchised.
Clay was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Eddie Lee Satcher, Lucille Reeder, Charles Mosely, Betty Sue Ellis, Chester Satcher, and Elsie Mae Satcher, wife Virginia and his daughter Kay.
Surviving is his daughter Daun Ledwell, of Sun City Center, FL., granddaughters Kimmy (Michael) Schroeder of Sterling, VA., Ginny Ledwell of Sun City Center, FL and Katie (Alex) Bierly of Fairfax, VA, grandsons Ben (Mary Paige) Jones of Cumming, Ga., Sam Jones of Atlanta, GA and great-grandchildren Alex and Addison Jones.
A graveside service will be held at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on December 7, 2022. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Salvation Army Boys/Girls Club in the area of your choice.