CLAYTON, Steven D., age 64, formerly of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, passed away Saturday, July 21, 2018 at his home in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. He was a graduate of Miami Military Academy and Miami Springs Senior High School, where he was a celebrated athlete in Track, Football, and Greco-Roman wrestling. He worked his way through college as a construction laborer/plasterer. He received his BS from Florida State University (‘76) and was a Certified Public Accountant who was greatly admired by his colleagues.
Despite childhood hardships and adversity, he retained his indomitable spirit without ever accepting defeat. His humble beginnings remained the foundation for how Steven built his companies and lived his life. He was an entrepreneur, a visionary, and a brilliant business strategist who had a passion for learning and critical thinking. He continuously challenged himself to greater levels of success, while helping others along the way to do the very same through mentoring, philanthropy and pro-bono consulting.
Steven was born May 1, 1954, in Miami Beach, Florida and spent his early years in Hialeah and Miami Springs. At the start of his career, Steven worked in Finance for Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was Founder, President and CEO of Physical Therapy Resources, a national company with branches throughout the United States. He retired in 1995 and began to pursue his passion for world travel.
Steven was truly a magnanimous man and his broad circle of friends was infinitely diverse. He enjoyed spending time in the company of gardeners and janitors, as much as he did with captains of industry and finance moguls. He had no mere acquaintances, as everyone he befriended became part of his enormous, extended family. It was not uncommon to find Steven on the phone at all hours of the day and night, freely giving of his time and abundant wisdom to all who sought his counsel. His age did not define him; he was genuinely a kid at heart; energetic, fun and always ready to lead the next adventure. His exuberance for life, his captivating stories and his irreverent sense of humor will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Steven was also an aficionado of music, wine and cigars; a brilliant writer; a collector of fine art and sculpture; an avid golfer, and a true sports fan. He was a proud booster of FSU football, generously supporting his much-loved Seminoles throughout the decades.
Steven cared deeply for children and was a wrestling coach at University of S. Florida in Tampa, American Heritage Academy, and Cardinal Gibbons. He was a loving mentor to countless youth, devotedly following each of their journeys into adulthood and remaining in close contact. Virtually all of the youth who were mentored by Steven have gone on to become highly successful in their chosen fields.
There are simply not enough superlatives in the English language to honor Steven as he deserves. But, those who knew the essence of his heart will attest that it was a privilege beyond measure to have known this generous and loving man. His family and friends will forever remember his laughter and celebrate him for as long as we live.
Steven was preceded in death by his beloved father Raul D. Clayton. He is survived by his wife, Lana Sue Clayton; his adored Italian Greyhounds, “Guinness” and “Sadie”, his step-children Ryan Walsh and Kelsey Smith (US Army SPC Andrew Smith); cherished grandchildren Hayden, Payton and Maisy; sisters, Valerie Phagan (Michael), Patricia Oliva (Henry), Carmen Derrick (Mark), Rosemarie Leslie (William); nephews Nicholas Garcia (Maritza), Kristopher Phagan (Ashley); nieces Breana Couch, Kerri Phagan, Jenine Couto, and Britney Seaton, great nieces and nephews, Samantha, Sabrina, Victor, Jr., Angelyna, Kody, Conner, Darby, Tyler, Asher, Ryder, and Lewis, as well as the countless other relatives and friends in whose lives Steven made such a powerful impact.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held on Saturday, August 4, 2018 in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. For additional information, please email: STEVECLAYTONMEMORIAL@gmail.com
Donations in memory of Steven may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by calling 866-278-5833. St. Jude’s was the favorite charity of Steven’s father and one of many that Steven faithfully continued to support in his father’s memory.