Noel Clay


December 24th, 1967- April 26th, 2020

Noel Carol Clay (nee Naegele/Lauderbaugh), is the beloved wife of Michael, cherished daughter of Bruce and Becky Lauderbaugh, loving sister of Ben Lauderbaugh and Kerrie Aaberg, sister in law of John Clay, and daughter in law of Mick and Hanne Clay. She was born on December 24, 1967 and passed away on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at the age of 52, following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Noel was a graduate of Bemidji State, and received Masters degrees from Northwestern University, Boston University, and Harvard. She devoted her professional career to government service, first with the Department of Energy, and then with the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). She rose to the highest level of government service.

She had an exceptional career with many accolades along the way, culminating with the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal. Noel’s talents allowed her to assume the leadership position of Acting USACE Chief of Policy and Planning, at the national headquarters in Washington, DC. The USACE Planning Division has also recently recognized her contributions to the field by naming their highest annual champion award in her honor.

In addition to a dedicated public service career, Noel was a lover of animals, travel, and education. She began a Science Abroad scholarship program at Bemidji State that has provided support for young men and women of northern Minnesota pursing science degrees and have interest in expanding their horizons through opportunities in other cultures. Her generous contributions have allowed students an opportunity to view the world in a different light, and have become a meaningful and perpetual tribute to her legacy.

Noel was a shining star to those who knew her and an inspiration to many, including her husband. She had no interest in self-promotion, only a dedication to do what was right. Noel has moved on to a higher plane, but her legacy of service to others will live on in the hearts of those she touched.

Due to the global pandemic, memorial tribute to Noel will be delayed until restrictions on group gatherings have been lifted. Noel would never want any harm to come to anyone due to attending a service. Celebration of life memorial gatherings will be planned in Cincinnati and Bemidji, MN later in the year when appropriate. Please go to her obituary at for updates.

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