From a young age, family life was difficult for Clayton Price. He was 11 when his parents divorced, and his mother sent Clayton and six of his eight siblings to The Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home.
“We were split up but got to see each other at Christmas each year,” he said.
The orphanage where Clayton lived was first established after the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln commissioned it for widows and orphans created by the war and it sat on 200 acres in Xenia, Ohio. It trained its young residents throughout the years in a number of trades: tinsmithing, wood carving, tailoring, dressmaking, farming, gardening, butchering, telegraphy, and blacksmithing.
He lived at the home until he was 18 years old.
Setting Out On His Own
In young adulthood, Clayton secured a job as a printer for a small motors manufacturer. As his supervisors kept adding more tasks to his daily schedule without additional compensation, Clayton decided to find a better-paying job.
He moved to Waltham, Massachusetts, where he attended junior college and Bentley Senior College to study respiratory therapy. At the time, all that was required to enter the field was a chemistry course.
In 1969, while working as an inhalation therapist at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, Clayton was drafted into the Army. He said the procedures and regimen of the orphanage made joining the military an easy transition.
“The vice versa was also true: the military was much like the orphanage,” he said.
From 1969 to 1971, the two years Clayton served in the military, he worked at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Sibley Memorial Hospital as a respiratory therapist. As fate would have it, he met his future wife, Kathleen Garvey, at Sibley Memorial while she was his patient. She was also a nurse in the medical-surgical unit at the hospital.
They have two daughters, Cara and Kimberly. They also boast a beloved granddaughter, Declan, who is 13 years old.
To the East Coast
In 1972, Clayton and Kathleen moved to New England. Clayton had changed careers and was working as an accountant for a company called Distinctive Designs. When the CEO of the company decided to move the business to Hollis, Massachusetts, Clayton followed.
They enjoyed many years in Massachusetts and Rhode Island before moving to Cherryfield, Maine, in 2003, to be closer to their daughter, Cara.
“We loved the quiet lifestyle of Down East, Maine,” he said.
There were fewer nursing opportunities in Maine for Kathleen, but she found work at Narraguagus Bay Nursing Home as a staff and charge nurse. She later became a resident there until her passing in March 2020.
Now a resident at Maine Veterans’ Homes - Machias, Clayton keeps busy with friends and family via his laptop and cell phone. He loves joining in on activities and meeting new friends. He’s also active in the Home’s Resident Council and is always very curious how the Home plans to celebrate military holidays.
Clayton Price has been named Veteran of the Month for May at MVH Machias. Thank you for your service, Clayton.
About Maine Veterans’ Homes
The six Maine Veterans’ Homes locations not only provide assisted living residential care and short-term skilled nursing care, but they also offer rehabilitation and therapy programs. MVH Bangor, especially, provides an extensive rehab program for both residents and non-residents. Download our MVH Guide to Rehab & Therapy >>>