|Birth: ||Mar. 11, 1976|
North Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Aug. 21, 2012|
Clayton Conrad Holland was born in Lenoir in 1976. He died a natural death at his home in Baltimore, Maryland on August 21, 2012 in his 36th year. He is survived by his mother and father, Ina and Bob Holland of Lenoir; his sister, Dr. Claire Holland Harraghy and her husband Charles of Hickory; his nieces Zoe and Lily Harraghy; his aunts and uncles and their families, Curt and Joyce Pease of St. Augustine, Florida; Wayne and Debbie Underwood of Knoxville, Tennessee; and George and Alice Boss of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Clay spent the first half of his life at Laurel Cabin, his family home on Bee Mountain near Lenoir. He received an excellent start at East Harper, Davenport and William Lenoir schools, before graduating from high school at West Caldwell where he served as captain of both the soccer and tennis teams. From his earliest years he benefited tremendously from participation in the Lenoir Recreation Department's youth soccer program and from his association with numerous dedicated volunteer coaches.
While in High School, Clay took a job in the Caldwell Memorial Hospital cafeteria, and it was there that his interest in and talent for cooking and restaurant management began. Upon his graduation he received a scholarship from Singer Furniture Company to attend N.C. State University's engineering program. After a year, realizing that engineering was not the path for him, he dropped out of college and began working as a waiter and sometime sous chef in various restaurants in the Catawba Valley and in Asheville.
His work at a variety of restaurants made him realize that he needed formal training and education. He then began studying for a Bachelor's degree in culinary arts and restaurant management at the New England Culinary Institute. As part of his rigorous culinary training, he worked for a semester at a large resort just outside Chicago, then broadened his experience with a year spent in the kitchens of an exclusive country inn in Yorkshire, England.
Back in the U.S., Clay became chef at a popular restaurant on the famed Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas—a few blocks from the Alamo. After a few years, his company transferred him to Baltimore to assist in the opening of a new restaurant on the Inner Harbor. His growing understanding of the universal truth that the success of all human enterprises hinges on good human relations; that his real love lay in managing the cooks and kitchen workers as well as the relationships with suppliers of food, equipment and other services. Even at age seventeen, in the cafeteria at Caldwell Memorial Hospital, he had been valued for his skill in making personnel judgments. Everywhere he lived he made many fast friends.
With his growing self-confidence Clay began working as chef and kitchen manager at the highly successful Pratt Street Alehouse in Baltimore. While still active in planning menu items and "specials", his sunny personality and steady intelligence, coupled with his sense of fairness, his command of everything culinary and his sense of dedication which led him to be the hardest worker in any kitchen he entered, earned him the respect of everyone he met. He was coming into his own in his career and as a man; with continuing professional success, a lovely and accomplished girlfriend, and a growing love of the Baltimore community.
Those who loved Clay console themselves with the thought that the life which like the sun grows larger as it sets is indeed the ideal life.
The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Lenoir Youth Soccer Association at P.O. Box 3163, Lenoir, N.C. 28645.
Online condolences may be left at www.greer-mcelveenfuneralhome.com. Greer-McElveen Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.
Created by: BRADLEY INGELS
Record added: Aug 27, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96074732
Added: Oct. 25, 2012