Clay Alexander Groves, 78, beloved husband, son, father, grandfather, friend, and pastor, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at the Greg Noreen Wells Hospice Center in Hazard, KY with his wife and children by his side, after a brave battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Clay, a resident of Baxter, KY closed his eyes in this life and opened them in the presence of his God. The youngest of three sons, Clay was born on November 21, 1943, in Gastonia, North Carolina to Edward and Annie Kathleen Hufstetler Groves. He attended East Garrison High School. It was during his attending Clear Creek Bible College in Pineville, KY that Clay met his future wife, Loretta Lee Middleton. They were married on November 17, 1972, at Putney Bible Church and spent the next 49 years building a life they loved, sharing the love of God. Clay’s desire was to honor God and feed his flock with the riches of God’s word.
Clay surrendered his life to the Lord around the age of 26 and Faithfully served God as a pastor of Beacon Light Baptist Church in St. Charles, VA for 2 years; 6 years at the Chapel in Middleburg Heights in Cleveland, OH; 12 years at Faith Baptist Church in Iron Station, NC; 2 years at West Pineville Baptist Church, Pineville, KY, and 28 years at Putney Bible Church, Putney, KY. He was passionate about serving God and serving others. Clay had a pastor’s heart and loved his church family and everyone around him.
He is preceded in death by his stillborn son, Steven Clay Groves, his parents, Ed and Annie Kathleen Groves, and a brother, Gary Groves. His father-in-law and mother-in-law, Lee Middleton, and Marguerite Middleton.
Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Loretta Groves of Baxter, KY; his son David Paul Groves and wife, Jessica and granddaughter CeCe of Georgetown, KY; a daughter, Hannah Elizabeth Nichols, and husband Ben, grandson, Kamden and granddaughter Aniyah of Oliver Springs, TN; brother Eddie Groves and wife Martha of Gastonia, NC; sister in law, Becky Groves of Gastonia, NC; brother in law and sister in law, Jerry and Diana Hall of Putney, KY and Harold and Sue Middleton of Baxter, KY; his Putney Bible Church family, as well as many other family members and dear friends.
Visitation for Clay will be at the Putney Bible Church, located at 6340 Hwy 522, Totz, KY 40870 on Saturday March 19, 2022, from 11AM-1PM with the funeral service beginning at 1 o’clock. Pastor Britt Lawson and Justin Parker will be officiating. Burial will follow at the Lewis Cemetery located on Graves Road in Putney, KY with men of the Church serving as pallbearers.
The family would like to extend a special “Thank You’ to the Putney Bible Church Family and the Bluegrass Care Navigators Hospice Staff, and the staff of the Greg Noreen Wells Hospice Center who have provided such tender compassion, care, and support during Clay’s illness.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests to please make donations to the Harlan County Christian School, or the Putney Bible Church PO Box 45, Putney, KY 40865.
On behalf of the staff of the Henson & Rich Funeral Home we would like to offer our heartfelt sympathy to the Groves family during your time of bereavement.
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