YourToyTrains is proud to salute William Graham Claytor, Jr., who was born in Roanoke, VA, in 1912. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1933 and Harvard Law School in 1936. For a time in the 1930s he was a Law Clerk for US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Initially denied entry into the US military in World War II due to his age (he was 28), he received a waiver and was thus able to be Captain of the destroyer escort USS Cecil J. Doyle. Claytor's actions after the sinking of the cruiser USS Indianapolis was credited with saving over 300 sailors that otherwise would have drown.
After World War II Claytor practiced law in Washington, DC, and in 1963 was recruited by Southern Railway, eventually serving as President of that railroad from 1967 to 1977. Claytor lead the very successful Southern Railway through the turbulent (for railroads),1970s. His cooperative management style and taking the time to listen to actual employee input characterized Claytor's successful Presidency at this great railroad.
During the Carter Administration Claytor served as Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979, and later became Deputy Secretary of Defense. He is credited with actions regarding gays and women in the military that were progressive for the 1970s.
Finally retired, Claytor turned out to have one more mission in his long life of active service to the Nation (and to the Southern Railway). From 1982 to 1993 Claytor served as President of Amtrak. His excellent relations with Congress and his outstanding reputation served him well as he survived several administration's attempts to destroy Amtrak. He guided that quasi- government agency through a time of new equipment addition, route stabilization, and acceptance of the fact Amtrak would not fail after all (as many in the government had intended).
After a lifetime of service, William Graham Claytor, Jr., passed away in 1994. I am sure you can see his productive life left the world a better place.