Elly Clayworth left this earthly plane on August 3, 2020, after a years-long battle with heart disease, diabetes, COPD, and, toward the end, Alzheimer’s disease. She fought valiantly throughout it all, and has earned her rest.
Elly was preceded in death by her husband, Roy Taylor Clayworth, Jr. She is survived by her children, Steven Clayworth (spouse: Linda Turnbaugh), Richard Clayworth (spouse: Gail), Linda Grimes (spouse: Robert), and Edward Clayworth.
Also missing Elly are her grandchildren, Kelly Holmes (spouse: Greg), Paul Clayworth, Erika Stevenson (spouse: Darin), Annalisa Stryer (spouse: Michael), and Sean Grimes; and her great-grandchildren, Abby, Emma, and Grace Holmes, and Lucy, Collin, and Nora Stevenson.
Elly was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the only child of Anna-Lisa and Nils Ivar Nordstrom. She sometimes jokingly bemoaned the fact that hers was not the Nordstrom family of department store fame, but over time became reconciled to the lack of a good shopping discount. Her beloved aunt, Edith Strandberg, and her cousins Birgit and Ester Strandberg, helped raise her and remained an important part of her life until their deaths. It was always an exciting time when a newsy letter or a package from Sweden showed up in the mail.
Elly was a self-described “stubborn old Swede” who, for reasons she couldn’t at times fathom, wound up spending the majority of her life in San Antonio, Texas. She never quite got used to the heat, but eventually came to love Tex-Mex cuisine. We’re not sure if she ever completely forgave her husband for sweeping her off her feet at an embassy party in Stockholm, hauling her home to the U.S. with him, and subsequently exiting life way too soon, but she did her level best to raise their four children in the place she knew he wanted them to live. It helped that Texas has beautiful beaches. She always loved the sea, which she said fed her soul. Whether it was from the vantage point of Ljusterö, the island off the coast of Sweden where she spent her summers as a child, or simply gazing outward from the coastlines of Padre Island and Galveston, she was always happiest near an ocean.
Elly once told a friend that, had her life taken a different direction, she would have enjoyed being an investigative reporter. She was endlessly curious about people, whether they were celebrities, politicians, or neighbors. But riding herd on four children by herself, along with the slew of dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, and various other pets she couldn’t deny them, didn’t leave a lot of time for journalistic pursuits. Instead, she filled what little leisure time she could find with other interests. She loved hummingbirds, feeding the ducks at Landa Park, flowers—especially her African violets—going to movies, occasional meals out at favorite restaurants, and watching men play tennis on TV. She said women’s tennis was “okay,” but not as much fun to watch because they didn’t play as hard as the men did, and weren’t as cute.
Elly was known to get perturbed with her children from time to time—and didn’t hesitate to let them know it—but she adored them unreservedly, taking great pride in their accomplishments, even the ones that scared her. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren brought her nothing but joy, and they could do no wrong in her eyes. She will no doubt continue to watch all her descendants’ lives unfold, with tremendous interest, from a window seat in the great beyond.
Until we meet again,