Obituary for Clara Mae Harris (Lewis)
Clara Mae Lewis Harris, 86, of Magnolia, DE went home to be with the Lord on July 27, 2017. She was born on October 5, 1930 in Goldsboro, North Carolina and was the youngest child of the late William H. Lewis, Sr. and Lila A. Whitley Lewis.
She was educated in the Goldsboro, North Carolina public school system.. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennett College, Clara worked as a high school English and Drama teacher for 30 years in the Virginia public school system. She met her life partner, James R. Harris, during new teacher orientation at East Suffolk High School in Suffolk, Virginia in August 1957 and they were married on December 26 of that same year, sharing almost 60 years of happiness together.
A life-long active Christian, Clara joined First African Baptist Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina at an early age and later became a member of East End Baptist Church in Suffolk, Virginia. She was also a member of First Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, Virginia where she actively served in the Deaconess, Tutoring, Senior, and Archives Ministries and was co-chair of the Vision 98 Committee.
An outstanding community worker, she was one of the founders of Women In Community Action (WICA), a public service organization in Woodbridge, Virginia, a charter member of the Old Dominion Chapter of the Links, Inc., and a Golden Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, initiated in April 1988 through Prince William County Alumnae Chapter.
An eloquent public speaker, Clara was often asked to coach young people in oratorical competitions. At both East Suffolk High School in Suffolk, Virginia and Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, Virginia she was well known and admired for her stern, no nonsense approach to classroom management. While most of her students would agree that she was “tough”, many also stated that she was their favorite teacher. Not one to mince her words, Clara could say just a few words or give a look and you knew what that meant. A woman of a “certain” era, Clara believed strongly in the rules of etiquette and had always carried herself with grace and class. Her sense of taste and style was impeccable and she truly enjoyed shopping and dressing to the nines.
Clara was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Florence Prunty, and brother William H. Lewis, Sr. She leaves an enduring legacy of love to her caring and ever-supportive husband James R. Harris; her daughter, the Reverend Pamela H. Connelly (Mark); one brother, Cicero A. Lewis (Ruth) of San Rafael CA; two sister-in-laws, Ruby Fisher of Richmond, VA and Mary Harris of Philadelphia PA; two grandsons, Evan and Christopher Connelly of Dover; four nieces, Cheryl Alston, Barbara Chambers, Belinda Fisher, Sharon Harris; six nephews, Kenneth Fisher, Calvin Harris, Thomas Harris, Scott Lewis, Tom Lewis, and William H. Lewis, III; two god-sons, Floyd E. Miller III and Kelly Miller; many great nieces and nephews, extended family, close friends, and attentive caregivers.