Beech Bend Park Family Deals With Loss During Busy Season

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- It was a busy day at Beech Bend Park.

"The campgrounds are full, the park's pretty full, and we've got a big race this weekend -- about 450 cars from out of town. So we've got a big weekend going."

However, to the owner, it feels emptier than it usually does this time of year after losing not only a man who held the title "Vice President" of the park, but also held the title of his son.

"Clay went to school at Western, but after he got out of school, he decided he wanted to help his dad. So he got into trucking business with me and park business and race track business. Most recently, a hardware store, a NAPA store and a service station," said Dallas Jones, the owner of Beech Bend and Clay's father.

42-year-old Darren "Clay" Jones died of MRSA earlier this month.

"Clay was a wonderful kid. He left this earth too early. It's been extremely hard on all the people and close family," Jones said.

Clay left behind his wife and 3-year-old daughter -- along with family members who doubled as coworkers.

"Our family's tight-knit, close -- we really work well together. We're a good team. The fact that he's gone, it's not only sad, but it makes us re-evaluate how to handle issues as a family and as a business too," said Reed Gonzalez, the director of operations and Clay's nephew.

They say opening the park back up after the funeral and working while seeing people have fun, helps ease the pain, but doesn't stop it.

"There's just little pieces of this or this, or something that Clay did or you may seen an invoice signed by Clay Jones and then you realive, he's not here anymore, a month ago he was," Gonzalez said.

Jones said Clay did a lot for people in the community, now those people are reaching out to support them.

"We'll miss Uncle Clay, but the park itself will move on and we'll hang tight as a family," Gonzalez said.

"I know Clay's up there looking down on us and watching us today," Jones said.

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