PLUME, ClayPosted: January 26th, 2021
“iiskimatsis – Fire Steel”
May 14, 1983 – January 19, 2021
It is with heartfelt sorrow and extreme sadness to announce the passing of CLAY PLUME who was held in the highest esteem by his loving daughters; Fallyn Brooke and Hayden Emily, his parents Jim & Darlene, sister Krissy, special niece; Kodi Bree and by his loving family, relatives and the many friends he made during his lifetime. Clay was born at the Cardston Hospital and later taken home to the beautiful area overlooking the grassy plains, rolling hills and river-bottom on the southernmost tip of the Kainai Nation. It was here where Clay learned and developed the work skills he carried with him in not only the ranch work he was so adept at, but in all areas of his personal growth and development. Like his dad Jim, Clay was blessed with natural strength and superb athletic abilities, and like his mom Darlene, was gifted with a combination of analytical skills and compassion that he counted on during his time traveling across the country. He played in a number of sports, but it was the game of hockey where he shone brightly. As a youngster, Clay developed his talent in the Kainai Minor Hockey Association and later in the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association. After playing his way through the system and after three games with the Lethbridge Y Men U18 AAA of the Alberta Midget Hockey League, he accepted the opportunity to play a higher caliber of junior hockey with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. It was only a matter of time before he caught the attention of the brass in the big league – the Western Hockey League. As it turned out, Brian Maxwell and Rich Sutter of the Lethbridge Hurricanes recognized Clay’s talent and toughness and signed him to a contract in 2001. Clay was instantly a fan favorite. His style of hockey was a combination of raw strength and an enthusiasm and love of the sport that made his play as a blueliner entertaining to witness. The Lethbridge Sportsplex was always packed to capacity whenever Clay and his teammates provided their entertaining game for the fans. At one point during Clay’s time with the team, he was beaming with pride when the Hurricanes held a practice at the Kainai Sports Center. Children of all ages were thrilled to see their idol Clay skating alongside future NHL’ers who gave the people a small glimpse of the professional sporting world. Clay became so much more of a hero to the kids who watched him skate that day by giving them inspiration and knowing that their hard work and dedication could bring them that much further into realizing their own goals and dreams. Because he thought so highly of the youth on the Kainai Nation and elsewhere, Clay dedicated his time teaching the young skills and techniques at the ever-popular Clay Plume Tribal Ice Hockey Schools he hosted during the summer months. Clay utilized the talents and expertise from both male and female instructors from the reserve who, along with Clay, encouraged the youth to follow their dreams. He loved working with the youth and giving back to the community. During his daily chores, helping his dad feed their cattle, repairing fences and ensuring their ranch was running smoothly, Clay was hard at work keeping himself in shape in his small weight-training room. In 2003-2004, Clay played with the Prince George Cougars and finished the season with Charlotte Checkers and Dayton Bombers of the ECHL. Clay then spent the next six years in the rough and tough Central Hockey League playing with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Rocky Mountain Rage, Rapid City Rush and the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. One of Clay’s proudest moments was winning the “Championship – Ray Miron President Cup with the Bossier – Shreveport Mugbugs 2011”. Jim & Darlene were both amazed and amused at the many stories Clay shared during moments of reflection and in those times when he spent quality time alone with each of his loving parents. Mom, Darlene, said Clay was like her best friend who would share their inner-most thoughts and feelings with each other. Jim grew to depend on Clay for not only his work ethic, but for the solemn pride Clay gave them as a son who gave his all in everything he did. Clay loved his children with all his heart just as he watched over and protected his sister Krissy and niece Kodi Bree as only a loving brother and uncle would do. Most recently, transition in family ranching plans had began, from Father to Son. Clay proved his Ranching skills and strong work ethic when his Dad was injured in an accident June 2020 and Clay was responsible for caring and checking cattle and horses, mending fences and hauling hay all while working shift work. He made things work and was so committed. Annual Branding’s at the Plume Ranch were well attended by family, friends and neighboring Spring Valley hutterite colony. Everyone looked forward to attending and helping and Clay took the key role in ensuring cattle rounded up and everyone had a job to do. Clay had a special bond with his Uncle Rex as they would often be seen working and riding or cruising together. In keeping himself busy, Clay began rebuilding the corral nearby his late Grampa Ed’s old house. People driving by on the highway would honk their horn and wave at Clay as he worked, alone in his thoughts and busy at the prospect of having ropers and barrel racers practice in his field of dreams. His plan was to provide an arena for his girls, family, friends and the youth of the community to learn and enjoy the sport of Rodeo. Clay’s proudest moments were as a Dad, his 2 girls were the light of his life. Clay would spend countless hours catering to their every need and would do anything for his girls. He shared with his girls and would often be seen at the corral riding “Big Guy” or chasing the sheep around. Clay had also mastered bath time and sharing special time with them. His Girls meant the world to him. People the world over are grieving the loss of such a personable and humble young man who touched everyone he met. He shared with each his humility, laughter and pride of who he was. Clay is now one of the stars shining brightly upon us. May he watch over his Girls Fallyn and Hayden, girls mother/daughter – Carrie & Avery Sampson, parents Jim & Darlene, sister Krissy (Shawn Traweek) & Kodi, nephews and nieces and the many relatives and friends who were a part of his life. Adopted Parents/Brother: Merlin, Kimberly and Brant Anderson, Clay’s Lethbridge Hurricanes billets who took Clay in as a Son/Brother, Adopted Dad Lewis Little Bear Adopted Parents: Jordon and Susan Bare Shine Bone, adopted Grampa Bruce (Ann Marie) Wolf Child, Brothers: JJ Little Bear, Ian Creighton, Jay Many Grey Horses, Bill Creighton, Chad Bare Shin Bone, Myles Many Fingers, Brian Plume, Dean Shade, Darcy Weasel Head, Buddy Healy…..And many more
God Children: Cohen Heavy Shields, Rhozy Fox and Cali Bare Shin Bone, Aunts and Uncles: Les (Emily) Heavy Shields, Twylla (Lance) Little Shields, Deanna Many Fingers, Rex, Butch and Floyd (Ethel) Plume, Charlene (Roger) Prairie Chicken and Jackie Plume. Clay was predeceased by: Ed and Marion Heavy Shields, Dean and Teresa Plume, Uncles Murray & Rudy Heavy Shields, RJ Heavy Shields, Gina Heavy Shields, Wade Wells, Uncle Wayne Plume, Special Aunt, Annie Heavy Head. Clay has such a large circle of family and friends, our sincere apologizes for anyone missed. The world became just that much more lonely since you left Clay, but we will do our best to celebrate your life with the memories and mementos of a life well lived.
Shine on Clay, Shine on…
The Funeral Service will be held at Legacy Funeral Home, Cardston Alberta on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 11:00 am. Prior to the funeral service from 9:00 – 10:45 am friends can pay their respects to the family. Due to Covid restrictions only 20 people will be allowed into the funeral home at a time. Services will be streamed on-line starting at 9 am.
To WATCH the Service online or send condolences, please visit www.legacyfuneralhome.ca
Clay was one of the most inspiring coaches I have ever had as a hockey player. Even though I was with him for 1 season, Clay was able to give me the inspiration to be the best player I could be, be tough, and be a leader outside of the rink. His lessons will not go forgotten, sorry for the untimely loss, and may he watch over and guide those that he held closest.
Our heartfelt condolence to Jim and Darlene, we remember Clay when he was a cute little 5 year old, when Darlene was taking classes in Vancouver and stayed with us in Langley, be strong, keeping you in our prayers.