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C. Clay Harrell, Former Town Manager, Dies

Harrell retired in 1978.

C. Clay Harrell, a former town manager who served the Vienna from 1963 to 1978, died Monday. He was 98.

Harrell also served at the town manager in Muskogee, Okla. from 1952 to 1961 and from 1979 through 1982.

"Clay was president and chairman of the Legislative Committees of both the Oklahoma and Virginia Municipal Leagues, and was very active in legislative affairs of both states," according to his obituary in the Muskogee Phoenix.

Marie Kisner, the former public information officer for the Town of Vienna, recently wrote about how she was hired by Harrell and about his service to the community.

"I had four job interviews with Mr. Harrell before I was hired. After the third, I told the personnel department at Town Hall I would not come back again because all I did in the previous sessions was listen to his Muskogee, Okla. stories. (He was from there and served as City Manager twice.) However, I did agree to go back for the fourth interview, and the next day Mr. Harrell's secretary called to say he had chosen me. When I asked how he had finally decided, she said I was the only candidate who patiently listened to his stories and who said I loved Vienna," Kisner wrote.

"Mr. Harrell deserves credit for helping to save the Town of Vienna from big development during the 1960s and early 70s. The town as we know it today probably would not exist without the efforts of Mr. Harrell, former Mayors Jim Martinelli and Charlie Robinson, and many vigilant Town Council members and citizens. This fight still goes on today as you know."

Clay was preceded in death by his wife Virginia Ann; his second wife, Anita Joy; sisters, Ollie Lee Hutchison, Alta Marie Devaro and Addie Dean Sleigh; and brothers, Ray Evans Harrell and Dennis Harrell.

Harrell is survived by his son Richard Alan of San Francisco, his brother Kent Wilson Harrell of Okmulgee, Okla., several nieces and nephews, and by members of Joy’s family, including her son U.S. Sen. Thomas Coburn (R-Okla.). 

He was buried Thursday at the First Baptist Church in Muskogee, Okla. Donations can be made in his memory to “A More Beautiful Muskogee, Inc," P.O. Box 484, Muskogee, Okla., 74402. Harrell founded this corporation in 1988 when his first wife Virginia died.

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