Clay is a 62 yo retired dentist practicing in western NC for 29 years. He and Beth have been married for almost 37 years. They are the parents of four children; Joel is their third born. They live in central Colorado in Poncha Springs.
Clay had no tattoos (see more about Joel page) but to honor Joel who had many, he had one of bamboo and dogwood interwoven placed. The tattoo serves as the image for In Joel's Steps: the firmness of bamboo symbolizing strength, the hollow core representing humility. This is the representation of the ideal person’s character in Chinese art history. Clay and Beth were in China when they received the news that Joel had died, having only the day before been in a class learning to paint bamboo. Dogwood symbolizes grace and hope and is the state flower of North Carolina, Joel's home. Joel's person, his character, is represented by the interwoven strands of bamboo and dogwood. Sometimes the strongest thing we can do is ask for help. Joel helped teach Clay that.