OBITUARY: L. E. “Lee” Clayborne

L. E.

Mr. L E “Lee” Clayborne 79, retired educator, coach, guidance counselor, athletic director, school board member, and mentor to many. The three-time Hall of Famer, passed away November 2, 2021 at NHC Maury Regional Transitional Care Center after a valiant battle with cancer that began while he was athletic director at Columbia Central High School.

There will be a visitation to celebrate Lee’s life on Saturday, November 13, at Central High School Event Center from 4 to 7 pm and a graveside service on Sunday, November 14 at 2:00 pm at Rose Hill Cemetery. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be extended online at

The family suggests memorial donations be made to: Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Tennessee 210 W. 8th St, Columbia, TN 38401 or Duck River Fellowship of Christian Athletes 2002 Oakland Pkwy, Columbia, TN 38401

Born March 24, 1942 in Macon County, Tennessee to the late Jewell Mason Clayborne and the late Nonnie Lavelle Polston Clayborne. Lee attended Hillsdale Elementary School and graduated from Macon County High School in Lafayette, Tennessee where he played basketball, baseball, and football. With the dream his mother had that he attend college, he earned a football scholarship to Middle Tennessee State in 1960. He graduated in 1964 but continued his education at Middle to complete his Master’s degree in 1966 while also serving as a graduate assistant coach to the football team. Lee started his teaching career at the MTSU Campus school.

In 1966 he began his forty-four-year career at Columbia Central High School as a PE teacher and coach. Later he was a guidance counselor and athletic director. He coached many sports because he wanted the students to be able to participate so if CHS had no coach, he would step in. During his tenure as an educator, he worked tirelessly for all teachers as a negotiator for the Maury County Education Association. His last year as the coach of the boys’ basketball team was in 1991 but he continued as athletic director until he was elected to the Maury County School Board carrying on his dream of improvements for all students and teachers.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Taylor Clayborne of Columbia whom he married August 2, 1969, son Jason (Becky) Clayborne; daughters Amy Dyan Clayborne and Cara (Mike) Skaggs; as well as his beloved grandchildren, Reagan Anne Clayborne, Anderson Taylor Clayborne, Brynlee Reese Skaggs and Aria Dyan Skaggs. Others are brother, Kenneth (Louise) Clayborne of Melbourne, Florida; sister Agnes Bartlett of Castalian Springs, TN; sister-in-law Wynona Clayborne; and brother Steve (Betty Sue) Clayborne all of Lafayette, TN; Also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers, Hilious Clayborne and Eddy Clayborne of Lafayette.

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