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Maxwell C. Lay, Seneca Nation tribal councillor, Ford retiree <br> June 28, 1926 -- Feb. 18, 2009

Maxwell C. "Kemosabe" Lay, a Seneca Indian who worked for 30 years at Ford Motor Co.'s Buffalo Stamping Plant in the Town of Hamburg and served as a tribal councillor, died last Wednesday in Buffalo General Hospital. He was 82.

Mr. Lay, a member of the Turtle Clan, was born on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation. He served in the Army during World War II in the Philippines. He later joined the Army Reserve, retiring as a command sergeant major in 1983. After retiring from Ford in 1981, he and his wife, Phyllis, converted their home into the Teepee Bed & Breakfast. They were married Nov. 17, 1951, and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the Masonic Lodge in North Collins.

Mr. Lay served 18 years as the financial secretary of Local 897, United Auto Workers. He was past commander of Gowanda Post 5007, Veterans of Foreign Wars; past master and a member of North Collins Fortune Lodge 788, Free & Accepted Masons; past president and member of Gowanda Shrine Club 1; former Democratic chairman in the Town of Collins; and a drug and alcohol counselor for the Seneca Nation of Indians.

He also was a member of the Masonic District Deputy Grand Masters Team and was named Shriner of the Year by the Gowanda Shrine in 2000. He said his greatest personal achievement was performing as the Shrine clown Kemosabe.

Mr. Lay was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Gowanda, and was chairman of its board of trustees.

Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Sherry Casey and Marty A. Goad; a son, David D.; and two sisters, CaraLeta Brooks and Kathryn Wheeler.

Services were Saturday in First Presbyterian Church, Gowanda.


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