Highland News Leader
Illinois State Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) hosted a ceremony Aug. 24 designating the bridge on Illinois 160 between Highland and Grantfork in Madison County crossing over I-70 as the “Richard Clayton Bridge” in honor of the late Richard Clayton.
The ceremony took place at the Nagel farm on the southwest corner of the bridge. Clayton was a construction superintendent from 1956-1985 on 31 bridge construction projects in Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties.
Clayton graduated from Pocahontas High School, where he was a star basketball player. He enrolled in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, but his family’s finances did not allow him to stay and earn a degree, so he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1950, achieving the rank of sergeant and serving honorably until his discharge in 1952.
Following Clayton’s military service, his career became focused on highway bridge construction in Southern Illinois until he retired and opened a new business. In 1985, Clayton started Chipwood Acres Nursery with his wife on their property along Illinois 160, it was a successful tree and plant nursery for 20 years where they shared their landscaping talents with the local community.
In honor of Clayton’s contribution to the state, the Illinois General Assembly chose to designate the bridge on Illinois 160 between Highland and Grantfork in Madison County crossing over I-70 as the “Richard Clayton Bridge”.
Attendees at the ceremony included Republican Sen. Jason Plummer, who read the declaration; Meier; Highland Mayor Joe Michaelis; Grantfork Mayor Steve Brendell; former Highland Mayor Bob Nagel; and former Fairview Heights Mayor George Lanxon. In addition, the children of Richard and Marjory Clayton attended — Patty Clayton Lockwood and Warren Dale Clayton.
“My brother and I want to thank Rep. Charlie Meier and Sen. Jason Plummer for their guidance and diligence in bringing this dedication to fruition and to honor both mom and dad for their contributions to the Highland area and surrounding communities they served,” said Patty, a Highland High School graduate.
Richard Clayton died in February 2018, while Marjory Clayton died in April 2017.