Jane G. Clayton, 89, of Middletown and a longtime Rumson resident, died peacefully with family by her side on Thursday, July 27. She was a devoted public servant, a successful business woman, and proud mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
Jane dedicated more than 30 years of her life to public service in Monmouth County, beginning in 1966 when she was first elected to the Board of Elections, then the Board of Freeholders and finally as the county clerk, a position she held with great distinction for 17 years. Her commitment to public service was learned from her father, Eugene Gardella, who was on the Sea Bright Borough Council and her mother, Dorothy Gardella, a Monmouth County committeewoman and the first woman to run for Sea Bright mayor. Among her many accomplishments as county clerk, she was most proud of having created the County Archives and publishing the Black Birth Book of Monmouth County which, in collaboration with noted historians, documents the birth records of children born to slaves in Monmouth County from 1804-1848. For this extraordinary accomplishment, she is honored annually by the Jane G. Clayton award presented to those who have made contributions to the awareness and preservation of American history.
She served as president and CEO of Eugene and Company, a wholesale food distribution company in Sea Bright, which she and her father founded. Devoted to this business, she also continued her love of community service by supporting such organizations as the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America, Monmouth Museum and the Junior League. She was honored by these and many other organizations, but was especially proud of receiving the Joshua Huddy award presented to her by the Boy Scouts of America for a lifetime of community service. With all that Jane accomplished in her professional life she treasured her family first and foremost, they were her inspiration and joy and she will be deeply missed by them every day.
Jane was predeceased by her husband, Harry H. Clayton ll; her son, Harry H. Clayton lll; and her mother and father, Dorothy and Eugene Gardella. Surviving are her son, Michael E. Clayton and his wife Susan; her sister, Maria and her husband S. Thomas Gagliano; her daughter-in-law, Janet Clayton; her grandchildren, Mike Jr. and his fiancé Amber, Harry H. Clayton lV and his wife, Allison, Jeri Clark and her husband, Wayne Clark, and Tyler Clayton; and her great-grandchildren, Jaime, Harry and Sloane.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Ave., Red Bank. A Memorial Gathering will be held at St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church on Saturday, August 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a funeral service to follow at 1 p.m. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Jane’s memory to Girl Scouts of Jersey Shore, Attn: Finance Dept., 242 Adelphia Rd., Farmingdale, NJ 07727. Please visit Jane’s memorial website at www.johnedayfuneralhome.com.
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