Thursday, August 6, 2020

Clayton Homes Co-Founder Dies in Helicopter Crash

A prominent Knoxville businessman was killed and three others were rescued after a helicopter crashed into Fort Loudoun Lake on the Tennessee River on Monday near downtown Knoxville.

Members of the family confirm that Joe Clayton, co-founder of Clayton Automobiles and Clayton Homes, was killed in the crash.

Clayton's brother and longtime business partner, Jim Clayton, survived the crash, along with Jim Clayton's grandson, Flynt Griffin, and family friend Jay McBride. They were pulled from the water onto a pontoon boat and did not require medical attention.

James Clayton, 86, founded Clayton Autos in 1956 with his brother, Joe, who still operated it. He went on to found Clayton Homes in 1966. He is currently the East Tennessee Chairman of FirstBank.

Jim Clayton had a helipad at his lake-front home.

Authorities were not sure if the aircraft was taking off or landing, but witnesses said it appeared to be landing when something went wrong.

"The helicopter seemed to hesitate, then it suddenly hit the water, and then the rotor blades exploded," Robert Crawford said.

1 comment:

IL said...

This is really sad. The Claytons have loved flying and done so for many years.

If you are a business owner in this industry and have not read Jim Clayton's book "First A Dream" you are missing out on a lot of good information and stories. I have a lot of respect for this family, and the vision that they were able to put into action by getting into the weeds and working hard. This is something that you don't see a lot of today, the combination of hard work and working smartly over time to build something from nothing.

On behalf of all of those of us who have observed Clayton Homes, bought homes from them, or have been impressed by what Clayton Homes has done, I wish their family peace during this time.