Clayton K. Van Houten Sr.

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.

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Condolences (8)

  • Munk Family

    Carol and Family - I am so sorry to hear about Clay. I am struggling to find the right words, or what to say. You and Clay, the entire family. You were just so good to me when Linda and I was in Laramie. I can't tell you what you mean to the both us.

  • Allen Drew Anderson

    Carol and family - we are thinking of you all and sending heartfelt hugs to you all. As you know, I thought of KK as my brother and will miss our phone calls and visits terribly. Am looking forward to seeing you again, maybe here in AZ for a visit this winter. Love you Alice and Drew

  • Rafael and Jenn andrade

    So sorry for your families loss, worked at Clays' while going to college. Rest in peace

  • Nina Whitehill

    Clay it sounds like you had a very talented wonderful Dad who lived life to the fullest. Sorry for this difficult loss!

  • Debbie Noel

    I am so sorry to hear that Clay passed away. He will be truly missed by family and friends. Bless you Carol and your family.

  • Shelli Dubay

    What a fabulous tribute. Clay excelled at everything he did....apparently! Racing cars, bowling, family...he could do it all so well. We are thinking of his whole family during these difficult times. But I’m so very grateful to have known him. With love, Shelli Dubay

  • Gary Chaffee

    I attended school with Keith and Kevin - I just wanted to extend my condolences to them and the rest of the Van Houten family, and I'm truly sorry for your loss.

  • Anonymous

    Great memories of Clay. weather it be cards, (all kinds of different games) bowling for dollars, liars poker, poker games with buddies. Do you see a trend here? LOL. I will always remember him. Hired my son, and almost killed both trying to "un-stuck" a semi on the summit. Way to many memories to mention here. I lived in Laramie when his health turned. Made me sick. God bless you and your personality. John Longpre'


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