What state and local leaders are saying about the passing of Clay Mathile

Clay Mathile, the former owner and CEO of the Iams pet food company, and a longtime Dayton philanthropist, died Saturday. You can read our news obituary about Mathile here. Here’s what some leaders in the community are saying about Mathile upon his passing.

The Mathile Family

It is with profound sadness that we share Clayton Lee Mathile passed away peacefully on August 26th at his home near Dayton, Ohio surrounded by family. He was 82 years old.

“Clay was a visionary leader, impassioned philanthropist, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He profoundly changed the lives of many through his generous heart, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his unwavering belief in others.”

Clay’s legacy lives on through his loving family: his wife, MaryAnn; his children Cate & Don Laden, Tim & Lynn Mathile, Mike & Michelle Mathile, Tina Mathile, Jennifer & Pat Prikkel, his 15 grandchildren and their families; and his one great-grandchild.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Fran and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of our friend Clay Mathile.

For many years, Clay was the go-to leader of the business community in Dayton. He was a visionary, and through his passion and belief in the future of the Miami Valley, he saw what was possible and made others believe in what could be achieved. He was also a mentor to so many young businessmen and women, taking his life experiences in business to help others reach their own full potential.

He cared deeply about his community and Ohio. He and Mary have quietly done so much to promote early childhood learning and education in Ohio. By focusing on the science of nutrition for children in the first few years of life, they have helped make sure that thousands of children each day are getting the start in life they deserve and that will positively impact them for the rest of their lives.

Fran and I are grateful to have known Clay and to call him our friend. We extend our deepest condolences to MaryAnn and their wonderful family.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted

Clay was a source of goodness and strength in my life, and I am going to miss him and so will many, many others.

Clay was a great entrepreneur, who helped many aspiring entrepreneurs. His business skills helped him obtain great worldly success, and he always shared his time and resources with others to help improve their lives and the lives of people from every walk of life in the Dayton area community where he built his success.

Clay never asked for anything for himself, he just wanted all of us to do what we could to help the Dayton region. He wanted to help the community he loved become the best it could be and wanted all of us to work toward that end.

I want to express my condolences to the Mathile family and to let them know that all of your friends and the people whose lives you’ve touched mourn with you.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Clay Mathile.

Clay was an instrumental member of our community. He was an advocate for the people of the Miami Valley, and he will be remembered for his drive, tenacity, and generosity to others.

Clay embodied the American Dream. His hard work, grit, and determination helped him find success. Clay donated tens of millions of dollars and gave back to the Miami Valley.

My heartfelt condolences go out to Clay’s wonderful family, who remain committed to his vision of a better Dayton for everyone.

Jeff Hoagland, Dayton Development Coalition president and CEO

The Dayton Development Coalition extends our deepest condolences to the family of Clay Mathile. A founder of the DDC, Mr. Mathile aways saw Dayton’s potential, even when many of us struggled to see it ourselves. He spent decades cultivating that potential through his leadership in the business community, his engagement with entrepreneurs, and his vast philanthropic work. A humble man of deep faith, Mr. Mathile encouraged others into leadership roles.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Mathile envisioned a better economic future for the Dayton region. Together with fellow business leaders, he helped launched the Miami Valley Economic Development Coalition, now the DDC, shaping its mission to grow and diversify the region’s economy and support Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. His active involvement and support over more than two decades guided our strategy and inspired our work. He saw our region’s weaknesses as opportunities for growth and he believed in fostering community collaboration to solve tough problems with compassion and humility. We strive to honor his legacy and will continue to work to bring Mr. Mathile’s vision of the Dayton region to life.

Chris Kershner, Dayton Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

The few times I had the pleasure of talking to Clay Mathile, I walked away knowing that what he said was truthful and that what he did was for the right reasons. You never had to question his intentions or motives because he was just an authentic, good, and genuine person.

He’s really done so much, from starting organizations like Aileron to supporting nonprofits in our community, to investing in for-profit businesses. His reach was great and he didn’t do it because he wanted the recognition.

The contributions he made to our business community will be a significant part of his legacy, as he supported small and large businesses, as well as nonprofits to ensure they had access to resources so they could be successful contributing entities that support the economy in Dayton.

Our community is better because of what Clay and Mary Mathile have done for us.

Montgomery County Commissioners Debbie Lieberman, Judy Dodge and Carolyn Rice

We are so saddened to learn about the passing of philanthropist and friend, Clay Mathile. Not only was he an extremely talented businessman, he truly thrived on helping others, whether that meant assisting entrepreneurs to realize their dream or providing resources to young mothers in the area who were looking to create a more secure future for themselves and their families. Clay had such a positive impact on this community. Today, although we mourn his death, we also celebrate his life and honor his memory. Our thoughts are with his wife, children and grandchildren on this very sad day.

State Senator Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg

My deepest condolences and thoughts go to the entire Mathile family today. Clay Mathile was an innovative entrepreneur who changed the landscape of the Dayton region, the state of Ohio, and the nation for the better. From founding one of the pre-eminent American brands to his astounding charity work, Clay Mathile was an institution in Dayton whose legacy will rightfully live on through the thousands he had employed and all of the good works he has done.