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1949 Clayton 2024

Clayton Emil Schott

December 24, 1949 — January 24, 2024

Des Moines, IA

Clayton passed away on January 24, 2024, at the Taylor House Hospice in Des Moines, Iowa, one month after being diagnosed with Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (a rare blood cancer). 

Clayton Emil Schott was born to Emil and Frieda Schott on December 24, 1949, in Jamestown, North Dakota.  He grew up on his family farm in Kulm, ND, where he had many adventures with the cousins who lived next-door and in town.  Clay developed a deep love and respect for horses, which he would maintain throughout his life.  Clay was baptized and confirmed at the Congregational Church in Kulm.  He graduated from Kulm High School in 1967.

Clayton attended Moorhead State University, graduating with a degree in accounting.  During his college years, he enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard. Clayton became a certified public accountant in 1973 and began working with Collin Peterson, CPA, in Detroit Lakes.  Although the firm name would change over the years, Clayton spent his entire career at the same job—a rarity in today’s world.   Clayton loved his career as an accountant and formed many special relationships with his clients, colleagues, and firm employees; he also enjoyed the challenging variety of his work.  At the time of his retirement in 2019, the firm was named Bekkerus, Schott, Helmeke, DeConcini, Johnson, Ltd. and had offices in Detroit Lakes and Perham.  In his early years in Detroit Lakes, Clay was active in Jaycees, where he made many lifelong friends and served as president from 1985-1986.

Clayton married JoAnn Torbenson on June 18, 1983, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes.  Clayton was the proud father of Becky and John.  Becky inherited Clay’s trait as a deep thinker, always mulling over a problem to make sure the correct answer was reached.  To Clay, spending time thinking, planning, and analyzing was always more important than acting fast.  John inherited Clay’s love of working with animals and the outdoors.  Clay and John spent countless hours at their hunting property north of Detroit Lakes and created many good memories hunting, driving four wheelers, and just spending time outside.  Clayton loved everything about country life.  He was happiest when he was driving a tractor, plowing snow, or just tinkering around in his machine shed.  He loved the companionship he had with his dogs, whether hunting or just driving around.  

Clay’s extended family was also important to him.  He looked forward to “cattle roundup” at his sister Diana’s ranch in North Dakota each fall and the family took many road trips to Kulm and Jamestown to visit Clay’s siblings and cousins.  Christmas Eve was also a special day with the Torbenson family, because Clay and his father-in-law, Herb, shared a birthday.  Clayton was also blessed with the friendship of his sister-in-law Sharon and her husband Jim, celebrating many holidays together or just having family dinners.    Following the deaths of Sharon and Jim, Clayton and JoAnn raised their niece, Anna.   

One of Clayton’s biggest joys in life was being “Papa” to his granddaughters, Cici and Lydia.  Papa Clay always arrived bearing some treasures for the girls, whether it was their favorite snacks, books, or trinkets he picked up at garage sales.   Since 2019, Clayton and JoAnn enjoyed spending time at their condo in Des Moines, IA.  Many hours were spent counting coins with Cici, reading to Lydia, and attending the girls’ activities.

Clayton was an active member of the Noon Rotary Club in Detroit Lakes.   Through Rotary, his family hosted foreign exchange student Sandra (Ibarra) Thielen from Mexico, who remains a special part of the Schott family.  Clayton was always willing to volunteer to serve on a board or committee, often getting roped into the position of treasurer.  He served as president of his Rotary club and served terms on various boards, including the Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce, TeachHaiti, and North Dakota Horse Park (Fargo).  He also loved helping with the kids’ 4-H projects and at the Becker Country Fair.   Clayton was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where he enjoyed Sunday morning coffee, youth auctions, and attending weekly services with JoAnn.  

Clayton will be remembered for his work ethic, dedication to family, and service to community.

Clayton is survived by his wife, JoAnn, children Rebecca (Keith) Duffy and John (Jamie) Schott; granddaughters Cecilia and Lydia Duffy; sisters LuGail Hamel, Diana Nill, and Nicki Meidinger; brother Wesley (Betty) Mittelstedt, and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Frieda and Emil Schott, his in-laws Herbert and Agnes Torbenson; his grandson Torben Duffy; his sister-in-law Sharon O’Gorman; his brothers-in-law Darwin Nill, Norbert Steckler, Floyd Meidinger, and James O’Gorman, his brother Floyd Mittelstedt, and 4 infant siblings.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to Trinity Lutheran Church or the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Clayton Emil Schott, please visit our flower store.
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