Thursday, July 31, 2014  
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Well known Howard County attorney and farmer William D. “Bill” Lay died Friday, July 04, 2014, at his home near Fayette. He was 84.

William Downing Lay was born in Columbia, Mo., on Oct. 7, 1929, the son of James A. and Margaret Downing Lay. He grew up in Warsaw, Mo., and graduated from Kemper Military School in Boonville. Upon graduation from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1952, Mr. Lay was admitted to the Missouri Bar and entered the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant of Artillery. He later transferred to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and served at Ft. Sill, Okla., and Inchon, Korea and continued as a reserve officer until 1964.

His legal career began with the firm of Miller, Fairman and Sanford in Springfield, Mo., and continued with a move to Platte City in 1960 where he practiced with Robert Clevenger and others until 1977.

On June 9, 1963, William Lay was united in marriage to Julia McCrae in Springfield. The couple resided in Platte City, Mo., until 1977 when they moved to Fayette where Mr. Lay managed the family farming operation. In that capacity, he became very interested in the operations of the Corps of Engineers at Glasgow and the levee system along the Missouri River. He became a member of the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association shortly after its inception. He was treasurer of that organization and received its John D. Drew Award in 2014. He also served twelve years on the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee and was the Howard County representative for the Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Committee where his conscientious efforts strongly influenced the completion of significant improvements made to Highway 240 in the area.
An active historian, Mr. Lay was a member of the Kemper Military School Alumni Association, the
Howard County Historical Society, the South Howard County Historical Society, The Boonslick Road, the Fayette Area Heritage Association, the Civil War Round Table, and the Fayette Round Table Club. He was a dedicated member of and tireless worker for the Fayette First Christian Church.

Along with his wife of the home, Mr. Lay is survived by two sons; Jim Lay and his wife Mary of Boonesboro and Bob Lay and his wife Jennifer of Blue Springs and by one daughter, Susan Lay of Marshall. Grandchildren Ethan Lay, Nick Lay, Thomas Lay, and Katie Lay also survive, as does sister Martha Kaaz of Leavenworth, Kan. and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held at the Fayette First Christian Church at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 7 with Rev. Paula Ritchie officiating. Burial followed at Boonesboro Cemetery with Tom Waters, Randy Asbury, Steve Ferguson, Jim Ferguson, Robert Britton, and Chris Rohlfing serving as pallbearers. Kenneth O’Brian, Ronnie Lessly, Paul Davis, Jim Farley, George Watkins, Howard McMillan and Lowell Eaton will serve as honorary pallbearers. The family will receive friends from Noon until the hour of service at the church.

Memorials are suggested to the Fayette First Christian Church care of Friemonth-Freese Funeral Service;174 Hwy 5 & 240 N.; Fayette, Mo. 65248.

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