Clayton Keith Van Houten, Sr., 76, of Laramie died October 22, 2020. He was taken to Jesus from the arms of his loving wife, peacefully in his home. Clayton was born in Burwell, NE on December 16, 1943 to Clayton and Edna Van Houten. He grew up in Newcastle and Riverton, WY.
He gave his life to Jesus in his youth and was a member of Grace Baptist Church. Clayton served in the United States Army from the age of 16 until December 2, 1961 and continued with the Wyoming Army National Guard until April 15, 1969. He thrived in the Army even though he was underage, and quickly earned admiration and respect of the commanding officers. He was then chosen to go to Vietnam for a short time to help train Vietnamese marksman.
Clayton found his other half in the summer of 1962, he and Carol Lee Isom were married on July 25, 1964 and moved to Laramie where they lived and raised two sons.
Clayton was a Laramie businessman and opened his first Standard Oil service station in his early 20’s. His businesses included Van’s Standard, V&R Standard, Clay’s Outrider Truck Service, Clay’s Towing and Body Shop, Clay’s Auto Sales, and finally Clay’s Goodyear Service Center. He was forced to retire for health reasons in 2003. He will be remembered by people for his tv commercials on the little red tricycle.
He loved to work on cars – whether for his customers or family, including restoring classic cars.
When Clayton wasn’t running his businesses he enjoyed bowling- which led to him being Wyoming state champion bowler in 5 out of 7 classes – and competing in drag racing with his sons.
He was a member of the Laramie Rifle Range, where he enjoyed target shooting, especially with his granddaughter, Savannah.
He was a proud member of the American Legion and was in the Honor Guard for many years. He served his fellow veterans until 2019.
Clayton coached his son’s little league baseball and soccer teams when they were younger. His family was the joy of his life and everything he did was for them.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clayton and Edna, and is survived by his wife, Carol Van Houten; sons Kevin and Clayton Keith, Jr. (Angie); his granddaughter, Savannah; his brothers, Donald (Karen), Ronald (Heidi), and Loren; sisters Darlene (Bruce) Morton, Charlene Conners, and Cindy (Larry) Oswald.
A celebration of Clayton’s Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday, July 19, 2021 at Grace Baptist Church.