A Rememberance for Clay

A celebration of life was held on August 31, 2008 in Lander, Wyoming. It was a beautiful day and many great folks were able to attend and help us remember a life well lived.

Some fun stories were told and if you have any additional stories involving Clay and his "whacky ways" we'd love to have you share them on this blog.

Here is a meditation prayer which beautifully summarizes our (and Clay's) wishes for all who were part of the celebration and read this blog.

May all beings be happy, content and fulfilled.
May all beings be healed and whole.
May all have whatever they want and need.
May all be protected from harm and free from fear.
May all beings enjoy inner peace and ease.
May all be awakened, liberated and free.

May there be peace in the world, and throughout the universe.

Search Efforts

For the official information on the search efforts please visit: http://clayrubanosearch.com/

Our special thanks to Margaret Goodro for setting up this site!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Message from Della Lonner

Just looking at Clay's picture on this blog makes me smile. Clay has such good energy about him that he makes everyone smile. I have known Clay and Rachel since 2001, from working in the beautiful Many Glacier valley. They are like family to me even though I've only known them for 7 years. The summers I worked the same position as Clay were most fun! He taught me to be professional on the radio as well as all the ins and outs of good communication.

People would come in to the ranger station when I was working and with a shocked and disappointed look on their faces say, "Oh. You're not Clay. Where is he? When will he be back?" At first I was offended but then I realized that these people had bonded with Clay after only talking to him for a few minutes! I would just smile and tell them that he'd be back in a few days. They would accept their defeat and slump out the door to wait out the non-Clay days at the ranger station. I told Clay about this occuring and he just laughed his cheery and yet humble laugh.

I feel fortunate to have had a job where I looked forward to going to work. The reason was because of good people like Clay and Rachel! They make life fun and you just want to be around them as much as possible.The other day a lady was telling me about a friend of hers who went on a hike and did not show up. A month later he made it out. He had fallen and hit his head and had amnesia. He didn't know where he was but he made it out. Crazy things happen in life.

Clay and Rachel, you are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

I love you both!-Della

Monday, December 17, 2007

Message from Lisa Ferber

My favorite memories/images of Clay are crossing paths with him skate skiing on the Willy road at McMurdo and also Clay and Rachel glowing together at Sunday brunch in the galley surrounded by good friends…

As so many of you have already said, what a bright star Clay will always be! Clay has been so wonderfully encouraging of my career path/soul searching especially this past year. He always has great recommendations of articles to read, things to think about, tools to use, etc. When I was so tired of trying to figure it out and I wanted to just sign up for a school program, Clay encouraged me to keep exploring alternatives for just a bit longer. Only because of this encouragement did I continue to search and am now on a path I would not have before considered. Thanks, Clay! I especially think of one nugget of wisdom that he passed along to me…that when we prioritize our lives, we should aim to do those activities that are our highest priorities at the time of day that we are most productive. I think of this each day and try to make it happen because it is seriously good advice! Also, as someone also said before, his “checking in” emails come at exactly the right times. Of course, Clay has insight, ideas, and resources for many other life areas besides career stuff, including broken hearts and illnesses.

I have been wanting to write to this blog for some time now, but it felt hard to find the words. Indeed, this situation of having Clay still missing has shaken my foundation of seemingly cliché ideals including “everything happens for a reason” and “things work out exactly as they should.” Nothing can explain this situation to me. This situation has given me understanding of some of the people whom I did not hear from when I was sick a few years ago. I now understand how it feels to want to express something, but to feel unable to find the right words.

Rachel & Clay, you are in my thoughts more often than you could know.



Monday, December 10, 2007

It is hard not to smile when we think of Clay!

Like many, I want to say something about Clay to help put a smile on many disbelieving faces. Thinking back over the years there were so many profound things that Clay and I had dialogs and emails about. They ranged from the state of the universe to the movie, “What the Bleep…” No doubt that I was not the only one.

Back in 1995, I met Clay when out of the blue I received a call from him wanting to meet Wendy and I to discuss an idea he had about experiential learning for corporate teams. We had never met this guy, but when we did meet at a micro brewery in San Diego, he already knew more about our website and business plan than we did. Wendy later shared that she thought he was an investigative reporter researching us. Her thoughts quickly quelled because of his sincerity, warmth and that laugh. Eventually, when he was at RMOC, we did work together on some projects that were not only great fun, but very effective team programs.

Rachel, rarely did Clay really talk about himself in depth to me. He was not secretive, but just quiet about himself. One day, I receive the rare phone call and we talked a bit about him feeling that he was searching for something or someone. It was intense and it bothered him enough to call. Many emails later, it was clear that it was someone he was searching for. I remember that he talked a lot about the book Wendy and I wrote about how we met and the defining moments that came quickly for us. Typical Clay, he wanted to analyze all the details. I actually got mad at him and wrote this lengthy email about how he should stop trying to figure it out and start making “left turns” in his life when everything logical told him to turn right. Well he did, and it was not too long later that I received an email about this person named Rachel. Clay was ecstatic!

Like others, I remember the famous email from “the ice” announcing the engagement and I could feel his sense of adventure, excitement and completeness. I clearly remember, as if it was today, feeling Clay’s sense of being whole and complete.

Rachel, Wendy and I believe that there is nothing greater that one person can offer another than to make them whole and complete. We know for sure that you are that person for Clay.

All of our love to you Rachel. Hope to see you soon.

Bob Root & Wendy Steele

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's the little things . . .

Though Clay and Rachel have been on my mind constantly ever since I received the news that he was missing, I waited to write for fear my post might not be profound or meaningful enough to add to the blog. I decided to write anyway because regardless of how well I knew Clay, he has touched my life. It may not be profound to others, but Clay enriched my life through the little things: by being himself, sharing experiences in the Many Glacier community, and by making me smile.

Every time Clay comes to mind, I see him smiling, standing tall in his green and gray ranger uniform, in charge of the Many Glacier Ranger Station. I say "in charge" because he ran that place like no one else (no offense to my other friends who have also done outstanding work behind that desk). I'm sure he got just as tired of all the same questions as everyone else does, but he never let that show to the visitors. He was professional, knowledgeable, and pleasant in every visitor contact I ever saw him make. Every time I was able to help him in any capacity he always thanked me with a smile, a nod of his head, and a, "Thank you for your help in these matters." He made coming to the Ranger Station a joy and always said something that sent me away with a smile on my face. Most recently, this summer, Clay made me smile (maybe even blush) by bringing to my mind a Nattie he remembered me receiving years ago. (There are some things we'd like people to forget.) :) He "oohed and ahhed" with us at the Fourth of July, laughed and imbibed with us at the Margaritaville party, and was always fun to talk with whenever our paths crossed whether in the Ranger Station, the laundry room, or at a potluck.

Clay is an important member of our Glacier community, a group of people who share a special bond. From what I have read, it appears that Clay was important to many other groups and individuals as well. Thank you for your impact on all of us, Clay. We all miss you greatly and are thinking of you with a smile.

Search update

A stalwart and devoted crew spent Tues, Wed & Thurs searching a few areas of interest as reported by the previous dog teams. No new clues were found and this likely ends the search effort through the winter, unless any major new developments emerge. If people would like specifics or are considering their own search up the canyon, please check in with Capt. David Good at the Sheriff's Office as they will remain the primary point of contact.

Margaret Goodro is planning a search in the spring and if you are interested in participating, please contact her at: mlgoodro@yahoo.com.

Rachel is currently down in Colorado Springs to be with her family. Please feel free to send her an email or to post your thoughts on this blog.

Thank you to everyone for the caring and support you have shown during these difficult times. Clay and Rachel are in all of our thoughts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Message from Michelle Cummings

I met Clay in 1998 at RMOC. What a gift he is to so many people! We have stayed in touch over the years and I always enjoy his smile and big warm laugh. I enjoyed rafting with him down Browns Canyon and facilitating groups with him. He is such a talented outdoorsman and I was always inspired by the ‘risks’ he would take. Many thoughts and prayers to you Rachel and everyone else who is touched by Clay.


Michelle Cummings

Message from Kat Smithhammer

It was over a year ago, that I was invited to a beer drinking opportunity at the RM and met Clay. Quickly, we engaged in sharing leadership beliefs, theories, models & concepts. Clay got out his books; I took eager notes and borrowed a couple for the weekend.

Periodically, we exchange titles, thoughts and leadership quests. Perfectly this summer, our work paths joined at NOLS PRO.

Clay has reminded to me to give way to the coincidental encounters, risk the conversation and to always invest the time to learn from one another.

Clay -- I am forever grateful!

Kat Smithhammer

Kat R. Smithhammer
Professional Training Program Coordinator
National Outdoor Leadership School

Monday, December 3, 2007

.......Beyond the summit of Earth................

"Beyond the summit of Earth" was a phrase Clay used in an e-mail informing me of another friend's passing last July. True to his nature, he seemed to suggest that even in tragedy comes the certainty of progress - of reaching further and higher.

In the seasons we worked in McMurdo together, Clay and I had opportunity during late night shifts for occasional, musings, speculations, stories, and of course, frequent laughter. During all those exchanges, I never knew him to utter a single negative, sarcastic, or cynical comment. That simply wasn't in his repertoire. Instead, he seemed perennialy focused on possibilities, solutions, and the never-ending process of discovery that life offers. From the posts of others, it's clear he lived to act on those possibilites. His upbeat, proactive outlook clearly influenced and lifted the spirits of everyone around him. By that measure, it would be difficult to imagine a more balanced and successful life.

One of my strongest core beliefs is that those who've passed beyond our terrestrial reach remain with us in the ways in which we do and see things differently than we might have had we not come under their influence. From that perspective, I know Clay will always remain with us, and I thank him for that gift.