Clayton’s cause of death not immediately known
BY CHRISTINA DERR
Springtown’s mayor Tom Clayton died early yesterday morning, July 11.
Clayton, who would have turned 58 July 21, underwent surgery in mid-June and had been recovering in a rehabilitation center when he died around 6:15 a.m.
The cause of death wasn’t known at press time July 11.
City Administrator David Miller – who was notified by a family member of Clayton’s around 8 a.m. Wednesday – said the prayers of the city staff and council go out to Clayton’s family, and they will continue to offer them comfort during this time.
“We are grieving the loss of this man,” Miller said.
Funeral arrangements were also undecided at press time.
Mayor Pro Tem Michele Chandler Kelley also expressed her concern for Clayton’s family:
“I am shocked and extremely saddened by Mayor Tom W. Clayton’s passing,” Kelley said in a statement.
“Mayor Clayton was a true public servant who had a love of Springtown that was evident and apparent.
“I appreciate the contributions he made for the betterment of Springtown and I’m honored to have served with him for over a year.
“The entire council and city staff are working diligently to conduct business even with heavy hearts.
“Please keep the mayor’s family in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” she said.
State law does not allow the city the option of leaving the mayor’s position vacant until the next election.
Miller said that council had two options: call a special election for the November ballot, or make an appointment from their own ranks.
He said he expected a decision on which at the July 26 council meeting.
Clayton was native of the area and attended Azle High School in the 1970s.
He enlisted and served in the United States Air Force in 1981 from which he received an honorable discharge after 10 months of service with the 437 Air Base Group at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina.
His decorations included an air force training ribbon.
He then went on to study at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1996, followed by a Master of Public Administration in 1998.
Clayton was a three-term council member when he was unseated by Greg Hood in 2012.
He returned to public office in Springtown when he was elected to the mayoralty in 2015; he was reelected to the city’s top office in 2017 in an uncontested race.
In late 2017, Clayton filed for a place on the ballot for the Parker County Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace office Republican primary.
He finished third in the five-candidate race missing the runoff by one spot.
During his three years in office, Clayton was an advocate of economic development and was a driving force behind several aesthetic improvements around the city including the renovation of the Springtown Tabernacle, the acquisition of two plaques from the Texas Historical Commission, as well as monument signs through a partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Clayton was also a key figure in the negotiations with Parker County and TxDOT for the coming $16 million project that will improve the city’s most-traveled intersection – that of Hwy. 199 and FM 51.
To accomplish that, Clayton worked often with Parker County Judge Mark Riley who had this to say after learning of the mayor’s death: “Tom had a big heart for Springtown. His enthusiasm and love for the community will be missed. I worked with Tom over the years to improve the transportation infrastructure and without a doubt, he was always committed to finding the solution that was best for Springtown.”