Cover photo for Lester Clayborn's Obituary
Lester Clayborn Profile Photo

Lester Clayborn

This obituary was written with L. Steve Clayborn’s personality in mind. We’re not allowed to do it any other way. Lester Steve Clayborn was also known as Clayborn. Coach Clayborn, Uncle Stevie, Dad, Daddy, Pops, Da, and Stevie. Basically, anything but Lester. Just to be safe we will call him “Clayborn” today! Even though this is extremely painful to write he taught us to play a lot! He was a kid at heart. Clayborn always had a love for adventure and life, but most importantly, academics and sports was a top priority. He always saw the world as a glass half full and a playground full of opportunity no matter what the odds were that were stacked against him. He was made up of snips, snails, caution tails, money lectures, joy, laughter, sarcasm, generosity, and a heart so full of love that many had a place in it. He will be missed a whole-whole lot!

Clayborn was born on March 28, 1955, to Lester and Kathryn Clayborn, his favorite mother. He passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 69 on May 4, 2024.

He graduated from South High School (Bulldogs) in 1973. After graduation, he went on to become John Osbourn’s Assistant Football Coach with aspirations of having his own football, and baseball team, of which he did eventually accomplish. He achieved an Applied Science Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Columbus Business University in 1976. He was already on the road to success with his many talents, but his most important quality was Love. The Love that he shared with his family, friends, and his community was the Love of opportunity. He was your biggest cheerleader no matter how many times you failed. His Love would drive you to get back up and keep going! He knew how to be what you needed in your time of need. He was Love!

His best accomplishments included his best moments at being a husband, father, son, uncle, coach, and friend to everyone that he knew. Clayborn was a pillar in this world because he believed that everything needed to be supported by something and he was determined to be that something in his life. We strongly believe that he was a Servant Leader in his career as he was in our lives, but his high level of modesty and humility caused him not to mention any awards, accolades, or career accomplishments to his family and friends. Although we do know that they exist because we heard many rumors about the impact that he made in the Columbus community and the state of Ohio’s workforce, as we got older. But, when we asked him for confirmation, he would change the subject. All we know for sure is that he failed at retirement! Now it was rumored that he retired from running a successful grant program for the state of Ohio’s ODJFS on Friday and started a new job developing a workforce development program for the Governor at FCJFS the following Monday, but he never told us any details. After that he started a new career in Leadership Development as the COO of Arvis Institute and we don’t really know if he ever quit that job. Maybe he was retired, maybe he wasn’t! He was everybody’s Coach, and a favorite referee. He was an accountant by trade, a tax guru by day, and a superhero by night. That’s the job that we did know about-the Superhero one! He saved us all the time! Sometimes probably too much, but we are better for his directions! We are reflections of his Love!

Although a less than average life span, Clayborn did not live an average life. He laughed inappropriately at every chance he could, he updated whatever he wanted to update on his house, he traveled where he wanted to travel, he bought whatever car he wanted to buy, he adopted whomever he wanted to adopt, and he loved whomever he wanted to love. Thus, he was a father, an uncle, a surrogate father, a Godfather, a coach, a mentor, a therapist, a brother, a son, a great friend to many.

He is survived by his 91 year old mother, Kathryn Clayborn; his sister, Stephanie (Bittygirl) Clayborn; his children, Shonna Sowell (Michael Sowell), Stev’n (Tie) Clayborn (Marsha Clayborn), and Shelleya Clayborn; his surrogate children that he stood in place as a father for, his nieces, nephews, and cousins, Lolita (Lee-Lee) Augenstein, Renatta (she’s going to be mad but he called her “Ranoochie”) Clayborn, Michelle Seward (Jason Seward), Rob (Bobby) Parks (Tawanna Parks), Amman Rose; and God children, Tobias (Toby) Latham, Fred (Man) Fernandez, Nathaniel (Nate) Jones, Amber and Ashley Taylor; his grandchildren, Tarvaris Kayshell Clayborn, Solman Clayborn, Gideon and Joshua Gray, Stev’n (Bo) Clayborn Jr., and Riley-Marie Clayborn, and a whole host of family and friends.

Clayborn was preceded in death by his youngest son, Severen Clayborn, and Damon Jenkins; his father’s, Lester Clayborn and Andrew Jackson; brother’s Andrew (Diz) Clayborn, and Marcus (Sputnik) Clayborn.

Cremation will take place after the services, and his ashes will be kept around as long as they match the décor. Psyche, Mrs. Clayborn done bought a decorative urn, yall.

Clayborn didn’t really want a service, and he despised parties in his honor, but Mrs. Clayborn said that she wants a service, and this is a party that he will have to show up to. Please God don’t let him show up to the party! This will be a celebration of his life because he had a life that was worth celebrating. He was the best man that we knew! Visitation will begin on Saturday, May 25, 2024, at 4:00pm until 5:00pm, and a memorial service to begin at 5:00pm at Marlan J. Gary, Chapel of Peace at 5456 E. Livingston Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43232. Don’t be late! The repass will be a celebration, a reunion, food, and fellowship at CDance Company for the Arts, 2896 E. 14 th Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43219. We even got a band yall! We Love you Clayborn!

Visitation 4:00 PM and Funeral Service 5:00 PM Saturday, May 25, 2024 at MARLAN J. GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST, 5456 E. Livingston Ave. (one block east of Noe Bixby, turn North on Lonsdale Rd). To read the complete obituary, order flowers, view video tribute and offer condolences to the Clayborn Family, visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lester Clayborn, please visit our flower store.


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