Clay Edward Bernichon passed away peacefully on September 25, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.
Clay, the oldest of four children, was born in Richmond Hill, New York and grew up in a sailing/scouting/dog-loving family on Long Island. He graduated from West Islip High School where he was active on the swim team, and later he worked as a lifeguard. At Purdue University, he joined Sigma Pi fraternity and earned an Industrial Engineering degree. Upon graduating, he began his career as a Commissioned Officer in the Navy, attending Navy Supply School in Athens, Georgia where he also got married. He served on a nuclear-powered Polaris fleet ballistic missile submarine, the USS Alexander Hamilton from 1969 – 1971. Clay’s service with the Navy took him from Annapolis, Maryland to Adak, Alaska and back to Orlando, Florida. Once retired from active duty, he moved his sailboat and family cross country to Issaquah, Washington and began his civil service career as an auditor for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In 2005 he relocated from Seattle, Washington to Rockledge, Florida to attend to his mother following her stroke. In 2015, he relocated one last time to Arlington, Virginia to be closer to his daughter and grandsons (and his oldest daughter beginning in 2016).
Clay loved sailing, soccer, Seattle, Purdue, dancing, theatre, dogs (particularly golden retrievers) and spending time with his grandsons—especially at the pool. He was a devoted civil servant, father, grandfather, and Navy man with a generous heart. He was loyal to his family and to the Episcopal Church including congregations at St. Michaels in Issaquah, Washington; St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Cocoa, Florida and—most recently Saint George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia.
Clay is survived by two daughters, and two grandsons. Also surviving Clay are his three siblings, six nieces and nephews, numerous cousins, and close friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice. Services will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family