Elizabeth Graham Touchstone Clayton was born to Anna Catherine Craig and William Weatherford Touchstone on June 25, 1927, in Dallas, Texas, where she lived briefly until her family moved to Southern California. Fortuitously, while traveling through Salt Lake City with her family when she was old enough to notice an eligible bachelor about her age, Betty met a handsome and promising young physician who was immediately smitten by the pretty, gracious Los Angeles young lady. She was smitten by him, too. L. Whitney Clayton, Jr. and Elizabeth Graham Touchstone married in the Hollywood First Presbyterian Church in 1949. In 1964, after all four of their sons had been born, the family was sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. The love for the Savior that had been fostered in her childhood home flourished as she lived with ever-greater devotion and committed faith throughout her long life. Besides their four sons and daughters-in-law, their love story now includes 23 grandchildren and 57 great grandchildren.
Betty was an eager learner with a motivating appetite for all things lovely from an early age. She attended a private girls’ school in Los Angeles as a young girl, then both Stanford and UCLA as a young adult. Her interest in learning extended well beyond the bounds of a classroom to literature, nature, and music. Her family will forever remember the stirring melody of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 wafting through their Whittier home while Betty’s tiny but mighty fingers made beautiful music on their large piano. Her love of music and her memory of lyrics and melody were so persistent that she burst into spontaneous song at the slightest provocation until just a week before her passing.
Betty’s generous adaptability enabled her to build homes and find pleasure in all kinds of places. During her early years in Los Angeles, she developed an appreciation for cultural niceties including gracious manners, fine cuisine, and genteel fashion. When she lived with her boys near the beach, she found great affection for sailing, snorkeling, and sand between her toes. When she and her husband retired to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later in life, she delighted in wildflowers, hiking, cross-country skiing, and all kinds of wildlife. She and her husband found fun watching the elk return to the refuge in the winter and spotting bear coming out of hibernation in the spring. They simply enjoyed each other’s company sharing thoughts and literature by the fireplace. During her final years living in Salt Lake City, she rejoiced in all kinds of new friends and fans who loved her dependable cheer and gracious goodness. And no matter where she called home, she loved to pack a bag and travel to most anywhere new or exotic. Favorite repeat destinations always included Mexico, historic international cities, and any sandy, sunny beach.
Betty lived graciously, laughed eagerly, and loved whole-heartedly. She will be profoundly missed by the scores of assorted people who knew her well or only barely but were nonetheless blessed by her generous affection.
Betty is survived by her children Whitney (Kathy), Weatherford (Lisa), and Craig (Meggan), and their families, as well as her sister Martha Lucy Touchstone Tuffli (Don). She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband (L. Whitney Clayton, Jr.), her son John (Elaine), a grandson (Jacob), a great grandson (Matthew), and her older sister (Catherine) who died as an infant.
A funeral will be held on Saturday, August 29, with interment immediately following. Because of attendance limitations obligated by COVID-19, the services will be held for immediate family only.