Cover photo for Clayton Floyd Parkinson's Obituary
Clayton Floyd Parkinson Profile Photo
1933 Clayton 2023

Clayton Floyd Parkinson

April 9, 1933 — August 30, 2023

St George/Smithfield

Clayton Floyd Parkinson, DDS, PhD, of St. George, Utah, and Smithfield, Utah died August 30, 2023 in Taylorsville, Utah. He valued hard work and integrity. He left behind a growing family and thousands of students and patients whose lives he changed through academic motivation and skilled dental surgery. 

Clayton was born on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1933, in Smithfield, Utah to Charles Floyd Parkinson and Eva Melvina Thornley Parkinson on the kitchen table at his mother’s family home. He spent his early years in Cache Valley as a farm hand where he took pride in “topping as many beets as men twice my age and double my weight” in fields owned by his uncles Donn and Glen Thornley. Clayton graduated from North Cache High School in 1951, enrolled at Utah State, and worked at Orlo’s grocery store. It was at work where he met his first love, MaLoy Nielson. They were married June 18, 1952 in the Logan, Utah Temple.

Clayton and MaLoy welcomed their first child, LeAnn, in Smithfield and soon after packed their belongings in a 1948 Dodge and drove cross country for dental school at Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois. Their second daughter, LaNea, and their son, Kent, were born in Chicago. Clayton worked two night jobs and attended day classes at Northwestern while MaLoy carefully stretched dollars at home. Together, they provided the bare necessities to “keep bodies and souls together, albeit loosely,” Clayton later wrote.  He graduated as a dentist in May, 1958 and joined the U.S. Air Force assigned to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas.

After two years together in Texas, June 1961 brought tragedy to Clayton’s young family with MaLoy’s death following a miscarriage. Now as a single parent, Clayton accepted an honorable discharge from the Air Force and moved back to Utah where MaLoy’s family cared for the children and he opened his first dental practice in Roy, Utah. There, again at work, Clayton met his second love, Sharon Lea Berry, who had just graduated from Bonneville High School in Ogden, Utah and was Clayton’s first chair side dental assistant. He and Sharon married in the Salt Lake Temple in June 1962. The newly constituted family started life in full together in Blanding, Utah where Clayton opened a dental practice. They welcomed a daughter and sister, Kallie, and a second son and baby brother Paul (Chip) in San Juan County.

Over the subsequent decades, Clayton opened and closed private dental practices in Logan and St. George, Utah where he specialized in endodontics while also discovering his passion for teaching. He completed professorships in dental schools at the University of Connecticut, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), and the University of Missouri Kansas City. He was respected for holding his students to high academic standards and hands-on excellence that he believed would serve their patients well. During his teaching assignments, Clayton also faithfully completed church callings in local LDS wards including as a member of the LDS Stake Presidency in Jackson, Mississippi.

Clayton retired from Weber State University in 2009 after a decade of inspiring nursing and dental hygiene students to learn the fundamentals of pathophysiology. In retirement to St. George, Utah with Sharon, Clayton authored multiple pathology textbook supplements and put his skilled hands to work turning wood into pepper mills and pens. His creations were a popular hit with St. George friends and visitors to the Saturday Market at Tuacahn in Ivins, Utah.

Altogether with MaLoy and Sharon, Clayton’s family has grown to 15 grandchildren, 34 great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren. He was predeceased by MaLoy and Sharon, his father and mother, his sister Sharon and brother William, and his daughter Kallie. He is survived by his two sisters Trena Wharton (Dale) and Domani Jardine (Guy), and his children LeAnn Holt (Paul, deceased), LaNea Clement (Rob), Kent Parkinson (Lee Ann), and Paul Parkinson (Fanone).

A visitation and brief program will be held at Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 East Center Street, Logan, Utah on Saturday, September 9, 2023 from 11 a.m. to noon with a graveside service and burial following at the Smithfield, Utah cemetery beginning at 12:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please provide donations in Dr. Parkinson’s memory to the staff at Meadow Peak Memory Care Unit via Venmo to @chipper18. Clayton’s family wishes to thank the certified nursing assistants, medical technicians, and managers at Meadow Peak for their loving and respectful care of Clayton during the past year.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Clayton Floyd Parkinson, please visit our flower store.


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