A Merced man who was a firefighter with the Santa Cruz Fire Department for about 18 years, and who was escorted by fire engines to his Merced home last month after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has died.
Clayton Ogden, 47, died on Aug. 1 after being diagnosed with stomach cancer, according to the Santa Cruz Fire Department. His funeral and procession are planned for Friday in Merced.
Called a “true hero,” by his co-workers, he was given the Medal of Valor for using his body to shield a civilian who had tripped and was caught in the middle of the firefight between police officers and a suspect in 2014, according to the department.
Ogden’s cancer diagnosis came without warning after an injury during a fire drill about 10 weeks ago, according to Mike Bonifay, Ogden’s brother-in-law and close friend. Doctors discovered cancer had spread to his brain, spinal cord, lungs, colon and bones.
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Clayton was one cape short of being a superhero, though he would give everyone else credit.
Clayton Ogden’s family wrote in an obituary
“Clayton was one cape short of being a superhero, though he would give everyone else credit,” his family wrote in an obituary.
In February 2013, Ogden shielded a woman from gunshots just minutes after two Santa Cruz Police Department detectives were gunned down by a 35-year-old man who was being investigated for sexual assault, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
“I laid on top of her and told her to keep calm and stay down, don’t move,” Ogden told the Sentinel. “It happened so fast. I’m still kinda stunned by it. It was the worst day I’ve ever had in 20 years.”
A procession is planned to honor him in Merced, where he lived for more than two decades.
Between 2 and 3 p.m. Friday, downtown Merced and the Merced County Fairgrounds is expected to be filled with fire trucks as an honor procession escorts Ogden from the Stratford Evans Funeral home on B Street to the Merced County Fairgrounds, according to Mike Conway, a spokesman for the city of Merced.
There will be some disruptions in traffic as Ogden takes one last ride on a Santa Cruz Fire Department ladder truck.
Mike Conway, spokesman for city of Merced
“There will be some disruptions in traffic as Ogden takes one last ride on a Santa Cruz Fire Department ladder truck,” Conway said in a news release.
A native of Dos Palos, Ogden leaves behind his wife, Rebekah, and three children, Colby, Sam and Lily, according to firefighters.
The funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Merced County Fairgrounds, Yosemite Hall, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
The family has set up the Clayton Ogden Scholarship Fund through Merced School Employee Federal Credit Union, 1021 Olivewood Drive in Merced. For those who want to donate, the account number is 22457–35.