Richard Claiborne “Clay” Capute, an employee benefits consultant and standout athlete, died April 21 of COVID-19 complications at the University of Maryland St. Joseph’s Medical Center. A resident of the Orchards in North Baltimore, he was 62.
Born in Glen Cove, New York, and raised in Baltimore’s Homeland, he was the son of Dr. Arnold John Capute, a physician who was the director of medical services at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and his wife, Louise Armistead Perkins, a homemaker.
He graduated in 1977 from Friends School of Baltimore, where he earned varsity letters in wrestling, lacrosse and football. He was given the school’s Nicholls Lacrosse Award and the Gray Outstanding Class Athlete Award and was named the football team’s most valuable player. In 2007 he was named to the school’s athletic hall of fame.
“Clay was a fun-loving and a joyous person, He was one of the first friends I made when I went to school He was a small guy, but he had a big heart. He was like a Mighty Mouse. You felt you were alive when you with him,” said a friend, Ross Kappelman.
Robert Belcher, another Friends classmate, said, “You wanted to be with Clay — he was such a great person to be around. I can feel his contagious laughter now. It was soothing and gave you comfort. And with it, he always saw the brighter side of things. And even when it was not so bright, it still came out funny.”
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Kenyon College, where he also won lacrosse awards and was co-captain of the team. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
“He was a remarkable athlete. I also went to Kenyon and would come back to the school to see his games. He had a fiery temper, but he never lost it about those he cared about,” said his brother, Charles T. Capute of Trappe. “He was 5-foot-4 and would lie about his height. He was non-judgmental. He was humble and quiet.”
Mr. Capute joined Williams, Thatcher & Rand, an employee benefits firm in downtown Baltimore. He worked on establishing retirement programs with Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., law and medical practices, among other businesses.
He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Joseph M. Katz School at the University of Pittsburgh.
He later worked at for 30 years in employee benefits consulting at Turner Benefits, RSM McGladrey and Verisight. He retired in 2017.
In retirement Mr. Capute remained a sports enthusiast and walked to lacrosse games at Gilman, Boys’ Latin and Bryn Mawr schools. He also followed college and professional football. He attended Super Bowls with friends.
“He was the best athlete I played with at Friends,” said a Friends classmate, Winston Hutchins of New York City. “He was both a great competitor and a gentleman competitor. As a friend, he was everything you could want.”
Mr. Capute read American and English history and enjoyed historical documentaries. He liked a miniseries on President John Adams.
He also watched the Food Network, prepared family dinners and used his grandmother’s spaghetti and meatball recipes. He grilled steaks and hamburgers and often tried new recipes.
He traveled to Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans, where indulged a taste for local cuisines. He annually traveled to Mount Desert Island, Maine, and enjoyed kayaking and lobster dinners.
He was also a devotee of grilled liver at the old Marconi’s restaurant. Tio Pepe and Martick’s were also Baltimore favorites.
“He had a nickname, “Toots,” and he was someone you could count on and did not shy away from hard work, on or off the athletic field. He had an effervescent personality and was always bubbling with lighthearted laughter,” said a friend, Hank Entwisle of Ruxton.
In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife of 29 years, Susan Bratten, who is also an employee benefits consultant; a son, Carter Claiborne Capute of Bozeman, Montana; a daughter, Peyton Kirkbride Capute of Albany, New York; and two other brothers, Arnold J. Capute Jr. of Baltimore and Allan A. Capute of Alexandria, Virginia.
A funeral remembrance is being planned for late June.