Obituary: Joseph P. Clayton, 69, formerly of Bardstown

Joseph P. Clayton, 69, died Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, after a brief illness. He spent his life leading and serving others in the consumer technology industry as a dedicated sales and marketing executive. He was an inspiration to his wife and family, his friends, and the thousands of people who worked with him at RCA, Thomson, Frontier, Global Crossing, Sirius, and DISH Network.


He was a passionate leader, hunter, and proud son of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He marshalled the resources of the organizations he led to improve the lives of others. His expansive career in the consumer technology industry drove the explosive growth of color television, the VCR, and digital audio and video programming by satellite. A devoted Catholic, he lent his support to many personal causes, always returning to his roots in the church as one source of his success in business and in life.

He was born Oct. 11, 1949, in Louisville. His father owned a liquor store in Bardstown and he always assumed he would earn his bachelor and master’s degrees, then return to Kentucky to sell whiskey. While his career took him across the world, his heart always remained in Bardstown.

He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Bellarmine University in Louisville. He was a member of Alpha Delta Gamma Fraternity. Bellarmine honored him in 2015 by naming the School of Communication building Joseph P. Clayton Hall.

At Bellarmine, the Clayton family name can be found on Piazza Clayton that is named for Joe’s father, Paul. In Bellarmine’s outdoor stadium, four athletic teams call Clayton Field their home turf. Additionally, he honored his mother, who passed away recently, by creating the Mary Agnes Dugan Clayton Endowed Scholarship.

In 1973, after earning a Masters in Business Administration from Indiana University, he started his 24-year career with RCA as a marketing associate in New York City. Over the years, he held various positions at RCA, working his way up through product marketing and sales responsibilities at RCA and then Thomson.

In 1997, he was named president and CEO of Frontier Communications in Rochester, N.Y. After an acquisition by Global Crossing, he was named vice chairman and president of the company’s North American region.

In November 2001, he joined Sirius Satellite Radio as president and CEO. He served as Sirius chairman from 2004 – 2008.

In June 2011, he was named president and CEO of DISH Network Corp., and he retired from Dish in 2015.

He was a man of many interests. He was a lifetime member of the International Bluegrass Music Association and traveled throughout the world – including Hungary, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia – on exhilarating hunting expeditions. In his downtime, he enjoyed watching Kentucky basketball and spending time with his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis Paul and Mary Agnes Clayton; and one brother, James Patrick Clayton.

Survivors include his beloved wife of 34 years, Jan; five children, Megan Stovall (Matt) of Louisville, Kelly Herr (Brock) of Carmel, Ind., Kathleen Reitz (Andy) of Westfield, Ind., and John-Paul and Molly of Carmel Ind.; one sister, Ellen Willett (Jerry) of Cincinnati, Ohio.; one brother, Mike Clayton (Leigh Ann) of Carmel, Ind.; and four grandchildren, Samuel, Abigail, William, and Lucas Paul.

The funeral is 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, at the Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral with burial in the church cemetery with the Rev. Terry Bradshaw and the Rev. Joseph Batcheldor officiating.

Visitation is 3-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, at Knights Hall on the Bellarmine University campus in Louisville, and 9-10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, at Barlow Funeral Home in Bardstown.

Memorial donations may go to Bellarmine University, 2001 Newburg Rd., Louisville, KY 40205, or for Masses.

Joe always said, “My home will always be in Kentucky. I am just passing through everywhere else.”

Barlow Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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