School 14

Clarence "Soc" Clay

September 23, 1935 ~ December 28, 2021 (age 86) 86 Years Old


    Soc Clay (Clarence Henry)

    Photo-journalist, Steelmaker

    September 23, 1935 thru December 28, 2021




     McKell High School  Class of 1954

     William & Mary College Williamsburg, Virginia

     Western St. Teacher's College Bowling Green, KY





     With nearly 55 years of writing and still photography experiences to his credit, Soc Clay is considered by many of his peers to be an icon in the realm of hunting and fishing photo-journalism. A glance box of the work of a legendary photojournalist follows:`



     Soc’s byline and photo credits have appeared in every major publication in North America that covers outdoor recreation. Over the years he has served as a masthead editor for a variety of publications, including Outdoor Life, Bassin, Fishing Facts, the fishing editor for Heartland USA Magazine and Fishing South columnist for Cabela’s Outfitter Journal Magazine.



     Soc Clay is considered a master of outdoor photography. His images have appeared in publications around the globe. He is recognized as one of the most talented outdoor photographers in the world. His work assignments included far flung reaches of the Mexico Mountains, floating the Amazon, trips to Finland and Russia as well as all over the United States.  His favorite spot to fish though:  headwaters of the Kinniconick


     Soc Clay has received dozens of prestigious local, regional and national awards for his work in outdoor photojournalism. Among his most treasured are the Lifetime Achievement Award and the much heralded, Tom Rollins Award presented by the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. In 1983, Soc was named Poet Laureate of Kentucky, the first outdoor communicator to ever receive such distinction.


     Soc was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as a Legendary Communicator in 2003. He is the first photojournalist in history to receive this highly distinguished tribute. In October, 2003, Soc was honored by the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame as a Legendary Photojournalist. Again, he was the first ever photojournalist to receive this award.


Soc and his wife Wanda along with Stormy, lived in a log cabin in a deep fold of the Appalachians in South Shore, KY when he was called to the Happy Hunting Grounds in the sky at 86 years old.  He is survived by his wife Wanda (nee Warner), son Tom (Robin Douglas Clay—daughters Caroline and Haley); his daughter Carla (Donald Piening-offspring John Henry Clay Piening and Riah Jane Durick); nephew Dan Warner.  Kerry Randall Clay previously left to go hunting but left a tribe of family and friends throughout the southeast US.  


 Favorite Quotes


     "When in the heart of a man was it ever less than a treason to go with the drift of things and bend with a grace to reason- and bow and except the end of a love or a season"- Robert Frost


Private services will be held for the family. A celebration of will be held for friends in the spring of 2022. In lieu of flowers the family ask that donations be made to Community Hospice of Ashland.


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