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In Memoriam: Red River Valley & Western, Twin Cities & Western co-founder Charles Clay


On March 1, Red River Valley & Western (RRV&W) and Twin Cities & Western (TC&W) co-founder Charles Clay died at his home in Edina, Minn. He was 83.

After earning business and law degrees from the University of Minnesota, Clay began his law career in 1952 as an attorney with the Soo Line Railroad in Minneapolis. He served as general attorney from 1959 to 1972, when he took over as general freight traffic manager-pricing. He later served as general freight traffic manager-pricing and market development, and assistant to the president.

In 1977, Clay was promoted to VP of the executive department, and then served as executive VP from 1978 to 1984, when he joined Minneapolis law firm Head, Siefert and Vander Weide.

In 1987, Clay and two other partners helped launch the 514-mile RRV&W in North Dakota. In 1991, he helped launch operations on the 229-mile TC&W in Minnesota, and in 2002, its 94-mile affiliate Minnesota Prairie Line. In addition to serving as a board member, Clay provided legal counsel to the short lines.

"[Chuck's] railroad and law experience were an invaluable combination, helping to guide the lines as they progressed through start-up and growth, eventually achieving national recognition for their success," said RRV&W and TC&W Chief Executive Officer Andy Thompson in a prepared statement. "He will be missed by all of us."

Clay is survived by his wife, Audrey, three children and six grandchildren.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/4/2009