Cover photo for MaryLee Darby Black Clay's Obituary
MaryLee Darby Black Clay Profile Photo
MaryLee "Darby"

MaryLee Darby Black Clay

d. January 26, 2024


MaryLee Darby Black Clay (“Darby”) was born in Baltimore, Maryland of parents Florence “Tommy” Massey Black and John Hubert Black, and died peacefully at home on January 26, 2024, in Adamstown, Maryland at the age of 94.  She was predeceased by her husband, James Powell Clay, Jr. He is survived by three children and their spouses, Catherine Black Clay (Alan Cresswell), Michael Magruder Clay (Christina Lynch) and James Massey Clay (Roberts Mancina); seven grandchildren, Josefine Smith, Samuel Clay, Evan Cresswell, Wyatt Clay, Marra Clay, Nathaniel Cresswell-Clay and Benjamin Clay; and four great-grandchildren, Sebastian Smith, Annabelle Clay, Emilia Smith, Florence Clay.  She is beloved by her family and friends who grieve her passing but are grateful for her life and wit and love that she shared with them.  

As a small child, she lived on her father’s family farm at Coolbrook, Maryland; later,  as a school-age child, she moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland, where her mother taught high school.  She spent summers in Ocean City, Maryland, with her great-grandmother and her mother, and waitressed as a teenager. A graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, she was married 1951, and began teaching elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland. In 1955 Darby and Jim moved to Hutchinson Minnesota and started their family there, where she began teaching elementary school in 1960. She was president of the PTA and the teacher’s union.  She taught Kindergarten, 4th and 2nd grades, and was instrumental in coordinating and teaching in the gifted opportunities program.  In the late 1980s, the couple moved to Green Valley, Arizona. A few years after Jim’s death in 2003, Darby moved to Buckingham’s Choice, in Adamstown, Maryland, where she had a vibrant social life, and many close friends.  Darby enjoyed many hobbies and activities: reading, writing poetry, playing tennis, fishing and hunting, sailing, horseback riding, skiing, swimming in Belle Lake, knitting, traveling, square dancing, and playing dominoes.

The Buckingham’s Choice Community will hold a Celebration of Life for Darby at 10:30 a.m. on April 8, 2024. Expressions of condolences can be sent to James Clay, 4842 Merilee Drive, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55343.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Monday, April 8, 2024

10:30 - 11:15 am (Eastern time)

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