Clayton McGonigle, the colorful founder of Wisconsin’s Fun Company and Direct Electronics, died Monday, March 20, 2017, at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. Death was attributed to a combination of heart problems and kidney failure. According to his friend (and the AMOA’s new national president Rick LaFleur), Clayton was on his way to the Dallas Amusement Expo when he was hospitalized. He was only 60 years of age.
McGonigle’s Fun Co., located in New Lisbon, Wisc., specialized in gaming-styled videos, cabinets and associated parts and supplies. (In 2008, the company was purchased by employees Rebbecca Palamaruk and Jamie Woodward, who continue to run it today.)
Clayton enjoyed wearing tons of jewelry and bling when he showed his goods at coin-op expositions, and his personality was as sparkling and memorable as his appearance. One of his nicknames was “Hollywood Clay” and sometimes he brought music performers to show off at his expo booths.
LaFleur said Clayton was also a song writer and record producer. “Several years ago, I took Sonny Turner of the Platters recording group to one of our industry’s dinners and introduced him to Clay. They became friends and Clayton ended up writing Golden Memories for Sonny to record. He had his own record label in addition to his coin machine activities,” LaFleur added. (On Amazon, readers can find Hollywood Clay’s CDs It’s My Life and Four Left Turns for a Livin’.)
A funeral is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at the Hare Funeral Home (217 W. Pearl St.) in New Lisbon. Mourners wishing to say goodbye to this singular fellow can call and pay respects at the home beginning at 10 a.m. We hope there’s music where Clayton’s gone to. He loved it so much in life. Rest in peace.