Clayton Ricker

Clayton Garwood Ricker, age 92, of Arizona passed away May 13, 2024. Memorial Services were held Tuesday, May 21 at Avista Living in Payson, AZ.

Clayton was born to Lawrence and Kathryn (Wiedenmann) Ricker in Rossville June 30, 1931. In fourth grade, Clayton began working at the Feuerhelm Truck Body Shop. His first job was to paint the new wood on the hay/grain wagon wheel spokes with red lead paint, since metal for wheels was prioritized to support the war effort in WWII. Years later, Clay pulled a new wagon behind his Studebaker to the Iowa State Fair as a sales promotion.

He graduated from Waukon High School in 1949, where he earned letters in baseball, basketball, and was the ping pong champ. He met his wife in high school when the principal said, “Hey Clayton, Audrey is sick and you’ve got a car, you need to give her a ride home.”

He enlisted in the Navy March 16, 1951 and served aboard the USS Orca, a sea-plane tender, during the Korean Conflict. Clayton married Audrey Mae Christensen July 27, 1952. Their son, Dennis, was born two years later, while still in Waukon. Audrey moved to San Diego, CA after Dennis was born, awaiting Clayton’s return from overseas. He finally got to meet his son when Dennis was a year and nine months old. Audrey’s sister said that Audrey’s sole purpose in life at that time “was to keep Dennis alive until Clayton got off the ship.”

He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy as an Electronics Technician Second Class, after 4 years, 11 months, 27 days.

His career with AT&T began in Des Moines, and he then moved throughout the West in Arizona and Colorado with various assignments in coax cable routes, microwave radio sites, as a civilian/military communication liaison to the Air Force at Cheyenne Mountain, and finally as a specialist in the implementation and construction of fiber optic routes from New Mexico through Arizona, to California.

As Dennis grew up, Clayton became actively involved in Boy Scouting during the time the family lived in Arizona and Colorado. He filled the Scoutmaster positions and started new Troops when one wasn’t available.

Baseball was a sport that he knew well and Clay volunteered as a coach for Little League. He also served on community water boards, square dancing clubs, and Lutheran church councils.

Clayton and Audrey retired to Strawberry, AZ in 1988 where he built a home of his own design.

Clayton is survived by his wife, Audrey Ricker; his son, Dennis Ricker (Patricia); his grandson, Jared Ricker; his granddaughter, Brett (Charlie) Renfro; his great-grandchildren, Hilde and Helga Renfro; and his sister, Barbara (Arne) Grangaard.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister, Marilyn Bulman.