He was born in Litchfield, Meeker Co., MN, on Aug. 25, 1947, and was a son of Verner Frans and Irene Mildred (Johnson) Saari.
He was a third generation, Swedish and Finish descendant and grew up in Kingston on a Minnesota farm. He was named for his Finish grandfather, William Saari who came to Duluth, MN from Haparanda, Sweden as a miner. Through research Clay learned his family name was originally taken from a town in Sweden that is recorded as Kattilasaari and that his grandfather shorten it to Saari.
Both of Clay's parents died when he was young, so he lived with his sister for a while and then he was drafted into the US Army after high school. While in the service in Viet Nam, he was awarded a purple heart and two bronze stars. He went to vocational technical school in Staples, MN, where he lived for over twenty years where he owned several businesses. He removed to Rogers, the northwest part of Arkansas, in the early part of 1993 where he met and fell in love with Donna Cooper of Rogers, AR. He lived there for a period of about 6 years and in 1999 he and Donna moved to Saint Joseph, MO, so he could work for the Local 2 Union as a sheet metal journeyman. He enjoyed life and was a pleasant and interesting person to be around and to know. He enjoyed walking on the beach in California, taking camping trips, also gardening was also a favorite past time. After refurbishing three old houses, he and Donna travel a lot and took many interesting trips. He also became familiar with his family genealogy, the computer and he enjoyed dancing, too. He also loved to play 10 point pitch with friends at the Senior Center.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Kermit Saari, a sister who died as an infant, a sister, Carol (Saari) Juka and his parents.
Survivors include Donna, his companion of twenty-two years, one son, Clayton Saari, Jr. of Staples, MN, and a cousin, Corwyn (Saari) Johnson of Minneapolis, MN.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Apostolic Lutheran Cemetery, Meeker County, MN in Kingston.
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