Former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay Died

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June 4, 2013 — Political leaders are sending their sympathies about the death of former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay.

Standing Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson’s office issued the following information Monday:

“Earlier today, word reached Gary City Hall that former Mayor Rudolph Clay passed away. The cause of his death has not been confirmed; however, Clay has been battling prostate cancer for more than a year. Upon receiving word of Clay’s passing, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson expressed her sympathy with the following statement:

‘On behalf of the city and citizens of Gary, I would like to express my condolences to Mrs. Christine Clay, Mr. Rudy Clay, Jr. and the entire Clay family in the loss of Mayor Rudy Clay. He was an icon in the community whose political service spanned decades. His heart for the citizens of Gary, Indiana will be remembered and cherished for years to come.’

Information regarding arrangements will be shared once available.”

Indiana’s First District United States Representative Pete Visclosky shared his sentiment:

“Washington, D.C. – Congressman Pete Visclosky released the following statement after learning of the passing of former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay:

‘I lost a friend today. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.'”

Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder and President Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., says he is deeply saddened at the passing of former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, considering him “a friend and an essential asset to the civil rights movement.”

Jackson says Clay was, “a part of what we call ‘The Great Transformer,’” the period advancing Civil Rights into social, political and cultural progress from 1968 to Barack Obama’s presidential election in 2008.

Jackson called Clay, “an individual who galvanized people,” appreciative of his political service and coalition building. He credits Clay for preserving the (Michael) Jackson family home in Gary.

In tribute, Rev. Jackson described Rudy Clay, “He was smile, style and profile,” noting that Clay was a graduate of Operation Breadbasket as an early political development class member. Operation Breadbasket was a foundational social advancement initiative that preceded Rainbow PUSH.

Photo: a campaign image from


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