Thursday, April 07, 2011

Godspeed, Bernie Clayton


Bernard Clayton Jr., 94, author of best-selling bread baking cookbooks, a fellow alumnus of The Indianapolis News, and father of my boyhood friend Jeff Clayton, died March 28 in Bloomington.

The New York Times gave him a splendid obit in Tuesday’s editions. You can read it here. Times writer William Grimes failed to mention that Bernie was on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender documents ending World War II. He was there as a war correspondent for LIFE magazine.

The last time I saw Bernie was maybe 30 years ago when his son and daughter Susan were in Bloomington for the holidays and my then-wife and I were invited down for a dinner party. Bernie had the most amazing kitchen I’ve ever seen with pots and pans of every description hanging from overhead racks. He served up steaming bowls of bouillabaisse that was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before or since.

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