An appreciation of Clayton Huey

January 17, 1931 - March 3, 2024


Public school education used to include good citizenship lessons.  For the children who attended Center Moriches schools between 1955 and 1986, those lessons included a role model named Clayton Huey.  When he died at home on March 3, 2024, he left behind a lifetime of contributions to his family, friends, neighbors, and this community.

Schools are different today.  Contemporary school districts often hire administrators from outside the community.  But in the mid-1950s, when he was hired as a physical education teacher and coach, schools were small communities of educators who often socialized together, advancing in their careers within the district and nurturing their families. 

As he continued teaching, Clayton completed a degree in administration at NYU and became principal at Center Moriches Elementary School, hiring and guiding teachers as well as students.  Later, as school superintendent, he oversaw the entire Center Moriches School District, including its winning Red Devils soccer team.

Despite these commitments and the demands of a loving family, he still found time to help Camp Paquatuck grow and thrive, so that hundreds of deserving special-needs children and their families could enjoy summer activities in a country setting.

In retirement, Clayton’s house lights went on early so he could catch a round of golf, continue his consulting work for local school districts, or tend his immaculate lawn and garden.

On occasion, he might even tend a neighbor’s.  Once, when end-of-year schoolwork so overwhelmed a neighbor that her lawn was not mowed that week, Clayton’s tractor-mower somehow found its way across the street and over her front lawn.

But when his own lawn became too much for him to keep up, he floated the idea of selling the home he and Joan had bought as a newly married couple.  Their children, Michael, Jim, Leeann and Laura were grown and off with their own families and careers. The new construction at Walden Pond looked appealing.  But Joan wouldn’t hear of it. She loved her home and her neighborhood. And there they stayed until Joan’s death in August 2020.

Together they lived long enough to see their children and their grandchildren grow and thrive as adults, and see the community where their married life began grow and change as well.

As an educator, Clayton Huey knew the power of a good example.  He knew well how much children learn from watching the actions of their parents, peers and teachers.  Longtime residents and former students, most well into middle age, still refer to him as Mr. Huey.  Those who grew up under his influence could not have asked for a better role model; our community could not have asked for a better educator, friend or neighbor.

The people of Center Moriches thank you, Clayton Huey, for your dedication to their children and your contributions to our community.  Yours was a life well spent, an example to follow.

And a presence we will miss.

“So fill to me the parting glass / And drink a health what’er befalls / Then gently rise and softly call / Good night and joy be to you all.” - “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Scottish/Irish tune often sung at wakes.


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