SEARSPORT — Clayton Milo Blood Sr. died at his home in Searsport July 7, 2022, supported by his family and hospice.

Just last December, he celebrated his 90th birthday. He received over 200 cards and emails and he declared he had truly led a blessed life.

Clayton had four passions that ran throughout his life. The first was his family. He declared how fortunate he was to have had Barbara, the love of his life, as his wife for 65 years. He derived a lot of joy from his family and he also took his responsibilities seriously. Part of his daily life was checking in on his parents.

Growing up, his family instilled in him the importance of eating together as a family, and he continued that tradition with his own children. One tradition Clayton loved was his family always hugged each other and said, “I love you.” In the last year of his life, he wrote in his autobiography, “I can’t think of anything else in today’s society that is more important than family.”

The second passion was sports. He played baseball and basketball in school and played in summer leagues. He loved coaching baseball, and still kept in contact with some of his players. Many hours were spent watching his son play, and later cheering on his grandsons, Matthew and Benjamin’s basketball and baseball games.

A supporter for the UMO baseball team, Clayton found sponsors and recruited local students. He was an ardent fan of the Celtics and Red Sox. Besides cheering for his teams, he loved to analyze the coaching and discuss what he would have done.

The third passion was gardening. With his background in agriculture, he was very knowledgeable and was an avid gardener. He loved giving vegetables away and sharing his love of gardening with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Michaela was responsible for keeping the rhubarb patch weeded. Brianna, Carter, and Camden loved riding the 4-wheeler through the garden with Gramp, following in the footsteps of Matt, Ben, Jenna and Cameron. He was very proud of growing and making over 100 jars of pickles and relish one year.

The fourth passion was making a difference. When he became aware of a need, he did not hesitate to organize and lead a fund raiser or support group. As an educator, he was drawn to the student who needed something to motivate them or support them. He didn’t hesitate to bend the rules to help someone out. Adult education appealed to him so much, as he saw it as a way to help people.

Clayton was born to Mary and Milo Blood Dec. 14, 1931. The eldest child, his family included brothers, Roy, Maurice, Stanley, and his sister, Carol. After moving from Belmont, most of his early life was spent on the family farm in Unity. Being part of a close-knit loving family, and working hard on the farm, shaped his whole life.

Starting at the age of nine, he helped by milking cows, taking care of calves, cutting ice, logging with horses and cutting firewood, haying, and growing crops for sale. He does remember growing and picking strawberries and then selling them for ten cents a quart. It was not all work on the farm, as he played baseball with a ball made of twine, and his dad made a basketball for him from a pig’s bladder. They set a peach basket on a tree for the hoop. He often said it was the best kind of upbringing anyone could have. He learned the value of hard work, responsibility and helping others.

Even though Unity high school was small, he didn’t meet his future wife, Barbara Myrick, until they competed for the school champion in ping pong. He lost gracefully, and they started dating. They excelled in sports, and sports remained important throughout his life. Barbara was the love of his life.

One of his teachers applied for a scholarship for him through the Sears and Roebuck catalog. He was awarded $100, and that allowed him to attend the University of Maine. When he told that story, he always stressed about how one person can make a great difference in the life of another person.

Clayton began his teaching career in 1953, as an agriculture teacher, basketball coach and administrator at Bucksport High School.

After a brief stint serving as an insurance manager in New Hampshire, he returned to teaching in Searsport. He also served as an administrator, athletic director and baseball coach. He was very proud coaching his team to win the state Class C baseball championship in 1972. Many of his baseball players are still in touch with him. Every spring he would take Matthew and Ben to American legion games and later to UMO baseball games.

While at Searsport, he became very involved in adult education. It all began when a local company asked him if he could provide some math classes for their employees. That was successful, so the plan was revised to help many of the employees earn their high school diploma or equivalent. He then set up and oversaw programs at Mt. View, Belfast, and Searsport.

That led him to work for the Maine Department of Education as the state consultant for the GED program. He was very proud of developing training programs for businesses, and he personally signed over 36,000 diplomas. He helped develop the test for the GED and took classes directly to businesses’ so workers didn’t have to travel or leave work to acquire a GED. He received a number of awards for his accomplishments. He felt very strongly the adults who worked so hard to earn their diplomas or GED’s deserved to be recognized and celebrate their success. He traveled throughout the state speaking at many of the adult graduations. If they cried tears of joy, so did he.

Clayton and Barbara began their life together in a small trailer parked at UMO. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born and they moved to Bucksport where they had two more children, Babette and Clayton Jr. After Bucksport, they moved to New Hampshire where he served as a regional insurance manager for a few years. He missed teaching, so they returned to Maine and settled in Searsport, where they lived for 60 years.

They joined and were active in the Searsport Congregational church. Clayton was a life long deacon and enjoyed planning and working on many fundraising suppers. Fish chowder was one of his specialties. In the last few years, they attended the Brooks Congregational Church where they gained more friends. A lot of their activities revolved around the school, but their favorite activity was to go dancing. Going to the Red Barn with a group of friends was something they looked forward to.

Throughout the years, Clayton remained close to his parents and siblings. The extended family always got together for holiday meals. A family camp, “the cottage,” on St. George Lake in Liberty, was the perfect spot for swimming, boating and fishing. He caught a 9pound, 5 ounce salmon in St. George lake with a grey ghost streamer. Clayton taught all of his children to fish and gave tips to his grandsons and great-grandsons.

Clayton loved spending time at the hunting camp on Frye Mountain. It was a special place for Clayton, his brothers, father, and friends. Elaborate hunter breakfasts were expected and Clayton was often the cook.

Their children were the source of much pride and joy. When they married and had children that joy became even greater. Jennifer married Pat Garrett and had daughters, Michaela and Brianna. Babette married Derwin White and had sons, Matthew and Benjamin. Clayton Jr. married Kim Moores and had Jenna and Cameron. Their family continued to grow, as Matt married Avery Barrett and had children, Carter, Camden and Peyton. Ben married Brittany Brewer. Jenna married Todd Biehn and had children, Tripp and Iris. Cameron is now engaged to Calla. The house is full of photos of all of the family, especially grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Both Barbara and Clayton loved being part of their lives.

Now, he will once again be with the love of his life, Barbara.

A memorial service will be held at the Searsport Congregational Church at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 21, 2022. Masks are required. Condolences may be shared at longfuneralhomecamden.com.

Memorial gifts may be made to Searsport First Congregational Church., P.O. Box 261, Searsport, Maine, 04974, or to the Congregational Church of Brooks, 22 Veterans Hwy, Brooks, Maine, 04921.

Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.