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Tom Clayton

(Minnesota & Wadham 1954) (15 December 1932 - 9 August 2023)

Thomas Swoverland Clayton, age 90 of St. Paul, died August 9 surrounded by family from complications of prostate cancer. Professor Clayton, Regents Professor Emeritus in English at the University of Minnesota, was a distinguished scholar of Shakespeare, Seventeenth Century British Literature and Classics. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Vida (Swoverland) Clayton and his beloved wife Ruth (Madson) Clayton. Tom is survived by Janice Derksen, his partner and companion of 29 years; children, Pamela Clayton Schultz, Katherine Clayton (James McKernon), John Clayton, and David Clayton; grandchildren Dayna Cossetta and Sam Clayton; great-grandchildren Miles, Thomas, and Ava.

Tom was born in New Ulm, MN in 1932. The family lived in several towns in Wisconsin including New Richmond and Viroqua before settling in Winona in 1943, where Tom’s father managed the JC Penney store. He attended Phelps Primary School and Winona High School, where Tom was remembered by classmates as athletic, good-looking, bright and “a wizard of words.” Tom joined the Boy Scouts and in 1947 was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Following his junior year of high school, Tom passed the entrance exam to the University of Chicago and was off to start his academic life.

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