Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Lloyd R. Clayton

Lloyd Clayton is a home-grown treasure, and how fortunate we are that Toms River was his home! Lloyd began school in 1927 at the downtown Toms River Elementary School and then moved on to the original Toms River High School, graduating in 1939. He cites four strong teachers who influenced his later success: Mrs. Jamison who made him aware of the necessity for self-discipline; John Dalton, a coach and physical education teacher, who instilled the importance of good sportsmanship, integrity and fair play; librarian Bessie McClean who helped him research information and about whom he said, "I had great respect for her"; and John Miller, manual training and carpentry teacher, who was instrumental in giving Lloyd a solid background for his future career as a boat builder.

When World War II began, Lloyd was classified 4-F due to a childhood bout with polio. Instead of going to war, he made another valuable contribution by going to work at the Annapolis Yacht Yard where he learned to build Patrol Torpedo Boats (PT Boats). All employees of the Annapolis Yacht Yard were awarded the Army-Navy "E" award for their outstanding war effort. With the help of his foreman and mentor at Annapolis and by studying books on design and boat building, Lloyd became self-educated and prepared himself for going into his own boat building industry. During this time he also completed three and a half years of US Power Squadron Courses including celestial navigation at the Annapolis Yacht Club.

After the war, Lloyd and his brother Hugh (a 1991 Hall of Fame inductee) began the Clayton Yacht Works, a marina on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River that repaired and stored boats as well as renting out slips. For fifteen years, he also co-owned Clayton Skiffs Inc. across the street from the marina. For three of those years he was the office manager. The company built custom-made boats up to 34 feet. One of their most popular skiffs was the Custom Twenty Eight which was exhibited at major boat shows in New York and Miami. This mahogany-hulled craft marked the first time that a sea skiff or any other small stock motor boat had been scientifically tested in a towing tank prior to commercial marketing. The 28-footer actually began two years before as a 26-foot version conceived after experimental trials with a smaller boat developed with the basic lines of the so-called Jersey skiff. A scale model of the 26-footer was run through exhaustive smooth and rough water tests in the Davidson Laboratory experimental towing tank at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. The design was given an excellent rating, but after actual running tests, Clayton decided a 28-footer was a better craft than the 26. The skiff became a popular luxury sports fisherman boat incorporating scientific advances in sea skiff construction. Other pleasure craft built at Clayton Skiffs included a 34' sports fisherman and a 34' express cruiser.

But Lloyd was not only a gifted boat builder and business man; he was deeply committed to community service. He was a charter member of the Pleasant Plains First Aid Squad and is currently a life member. Lloyd is also a life member of the Pleasant Plains Fire Co. and has received awards for his years of service as well as being a charter and life member of the Pleasant Plains Gun Club since 1941.

A member and later chairman of the Dover Township Recreation Commission, Lloyd was awarded a plaque for fourteen years of service from 1960-1974. He was also very involved with 4-H activities as well as the Boy Scouts. He was a Sunday School teacher and served for 23 years as treasurer and financial.secretary of St. Andrews Methodist Church.

After selling his boat business in 1960, Lloyd owned his own furniture and repair business for 15 years. Like his boat building skills, his good name in the furniture business lived on with satisfied customers who prized his work.

Lloyd was always a committed family man. He and his wife, Helen, have been married for 59 years and are proud of their son Lloyd Keith, a retired Air Force pilot who lives with his family in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and their daughter Catherine Ann Herneler who lives in Burlington County with her family.

Lloyd Clayton is being inducted into the Toms River Schools Hall of Fame because he has not only achieved success in several businesses; as a humanitarian he has been recognized for his tireless service to organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in Toms River and Ocean County.

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