In Memory of

Betty LaVan Clayton

June 25, 1923 - July 10, 2018
From: Des Moines, IA
Betty LaVan Clayton

Betty LaVan Clayton

Born: June 25, 1923
Died: July 10, 2018
Age: 95

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Loved and respected by all, Betty LaVan (Kirkpatrick) Clayton who was born June 25, 1923, in Marengo, Iowa, to David Leo and Marjorie Althea (Brown) Kirkpatrick, joined her husband in heaven on July 10, 2018.  She exited this world quietly and peacefully, in her sleep as her mother before her, and as she did most everything in life. 

Early in life, Betty was a popular 1941 graduate from Wilson High School in Cherokee, Iowa, where she was active in many extra-curricular activities, including orchestra, Pow-Wow, Big Sisters, and was the editor of her senior yearbook. She went on to attend the University of Iowa from 1941-1944 where she majored in Nursing and was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. It was there she met her future husband, Pfc. Earl Joseph Clayton of Morris, Illinois who was in the dental program. They married on June 20, 1944 at 7 PM in the First Methodist Church in Cherokee, Iowa. After Earl graduated from the College of Dentistry the following spring, he left for San Diego where he began his military service in the navy in the summer of 1945, taking Betty with him and starting a family.


     Upon Earl’s discharge from the service, Earl, Betty and family moved to Spencer, Iowa to start up Dr. Clayton’s dental practice. It was there they lived in a home built and designed by Betty’s father for their entire married life. While there they were members of the La Donza Dance Club and built a summer home on West Lake Okoboji. While raising her four daughters, Betty enjoyed playing bridge, dancing, reading, knitting, crocheting and many other crafts as well as collecting and refinishing antique furniture.


     In 1970 after her four daughters were grown, Betty began assisting in Dr. Clayton’s dental office and was subsequently asked to initiate a Dental Assisting Program for the Spencer Business School. After developing and obtaining accreditation for the Dental Assistant program, she taught there for ten years.


     Following her husband’s death, at the age of 67, in 1986, Betty continued in the dental profession as the office manager for another Spencer dentist for the next nine years. After which, she became bonded so that she could serve as a representative payer for Social Security for four individuals. She then began volunteering to teach illiterate adults to read, which she did as community service until her move.

     In June of 2006, Betty moved to the West Des Moines Lodge of Ashworth where she lived for 12 years before she passed at home peacefully on July 10, 2018, some 15 days after her 95th birthday.


     She leaves behind:

            Her sister: Marylyn (Mike) Dahl of Columbia, Missouri;

Her four daughters – Sandra McClenahan of Naperville, Illinois; Judy (Ben) Banta of Des Moines, Iowa; Dr. Linda Sheridan of Grass Valley, California and her deceased daughter, Barbara Turner of Los Angeles, California;

Nine grandchildren – Kelly Mitsch; Kris (Richard) Reed; Kim (Tony) Hakes; Clayton (Meredith) Sheridan; Kent (Roya) Sheridan; Christopher Sheridan; Brahman Turner, Ashley (Eric) Kosten, Kitt Turner;

Sixteen great grandchildren – Connor and Cameron Mitsch; Jordyn, Danielle and Carley  Steinkrist;  Tyler, Kaity, Kassidy, and Cooper Hakes; Caleb, Olivia, and Isabella Sheridan; Cameron Sheridan;  Marigold Turner; June and Fynn Kosten.


     She was preceded in death by her husband Earl in 1986 and her youngest child, Barbara Turner, in 2017.


     Betty will be buried next to her husband in Spencer, Iowa. She will always live on in the hearts of her family and all who knew her.  The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to the American Cancer Society in memory of Barbara (Clayton) Turner.
Graveside Services will be held at 1:30 P.M., Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer, Iowa.
Pastor Paul Frederiksen
Riverside Cemetery
Spencer, Iowa


Monday, July 16, 2018 at 4:56 PM
“Sorry to hear of Betty's passing 😔 She was a kind and gentle woman. May she rest in peace ”
- Sue Adams
Monday, July 16, 2018 at 9:46 AM
“Sandy, Judy and Linda, I was so sorry to hear of Betty's passing. She was a wonderful women and special friend and neighbor to my Mom, Bev Sondergaard. Please know I am thinking positive, healing thoughts for all of you.”
- Shelley Sondergaard Looby
Friday, July 13, 2018 at 3:20 PM
“Your Mom was indeed a great teacher and mentor. I was privileged to help out in the Dentist Office after school, your folks atteneded some of my junior high basketball games even though I wasn't very good they were always encouraging to me! I was allowed to drive one of the harness horses around the track in the field and ride the tall sadle horse that liked to try to knock me off by going back to the barn full run. Her patience with everyone made her a wonderful teacher! What a blessing she was to me. Kathy Stouffer Anderson”
- Kathy Stouffer Anderson
Friday, July 13, 2018 at 12:31 PM
“May she rest in peace.”
- SK & TR Shively
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