CLARA BELL (WOODS) SEALEY, born in April 1925 in Atlanta, Georgia, to the late Mamie Laster Woods and the late Frederick Douglass Woods, passed away at age 93 on August 13, 2018 in Elmira, New York.
A blessed explorer, people advocate, cat lover, hot coffee lover, avid reader and a lifelong learner Clara Bell Woods Sealey was born on April 18, 1925 in Atlanta Georgia to Mamie Laster Woods and Frederick Douglass Woods. To this union six other siblings were born, five preceded her in death, Freddie Mae, Anna, Marques, Charles and Bernice. Clara was married to George E. Sealey who preceded her in death and this union was blessed with two daughters, Kana Sealey Cody who preceded her in death and surviving daughter Dr. Reba Sealey Herndon. Clara graduated with high honors from Booker T. Washington H.S. in Atlanta GA. She briefly attended Morris Brown College for Business Administration. During WW II she was a riveter in the Boston ship yards. After the war she went to NYC to pursue her life-long career in Nursing at Lincoln School of Nursing in the Bronx and graduated with high honors. As a dedicated nurse she gave devoted and attentive care to patients at Bellevue, Sydenham and Montefiore Hospitals in NYC and upstate NY hospitals such as Buffalo General, Roswell Memorial and Upstate Medical. Miss Clara had a sense of adventure and applied that in her nursing work life. She was viewed as a highly skilled Nurse Practitioner for the US government Native American reservation in Parker Arizona on the Colorado River and as a Nurse Practitioner for the Quebec Canadian government in Sept-Iles – which involved riding in a helicopter to get to her patients. In 1986 she completed her Bachelor of Arts at Norwich University Vermont at the age of 61.
She participated in the Women’s Health Initiative for over 30 years. She had a special love for all animals but especially “puddy tats” and had creatibackgrounds with dignity and respect. She was a member of the Syracuse National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP and a member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. ve names for them over the years- Ding-Ding the sewing machine 5 x 9=45, Lady Fingers Fig-Newton, and current Grand-Kitty BAK Jay .
Clara had a world of interests. She enjoyed a great novel and knew all the classics as well as new literature and practically lived at the library on weekends. She passed on her voracious appetite and love of reading to her children and grandchildren. Her Bible was well used, very worn and highly notated!
Clara loved sports and eagerly cheered on her favorite professional teams (the New York Yankees and the New York Giants) and players (Fran Tarkington, Frank Gifford, Billie “White Shoes” Johnson). She enjoyed college sports and loved the Marching Bands- especially Morgan State and Michigan State! She enjoyed traveling especially cruises to Bermuda and the Caribbean and could listen to BB King and Ray Charles all day. Miss Clara enjoyed doing cross-word puzzle, playing Bid Whist and watching Classic Westerns like Have Gun Will Travel and Gunsmoke TV mysteries like Columbo and McCloud. She also enjoyed a good laugh and never missed The Flip Wilson Show or Laugh In.
Clara was preceded in death by her daughter, Kana Sealey Cody; brothers, Charles Woods and Marques E Woods; and sisters, Bernice Thomas, Anna Tigner, and Freddie Mae.
Left to remember her amazing life journey are her sister Blanche W. Abrams Atlanta Georgia, daughter Reba (Kelsy) Herndon Horseheads, NY, granddaughter Vanessa A. Herndon Washington, DC, grandson Marcus Herndon Brooklyn, NY and great granddaughter Aya Alexandra Dunlop, niece Michelle Crawford, Atlanta Georgia, nephews James T. Abrams, Decatur, GA, Charles Woods, Douglass Woods, Reginald Woods, Atlanta Georgia, Dino (Maritza) Tigner Brooklyn NY., Special friends Christine Harper and Mary Beth Costantino, and a host of family, friends and caregivers over the years.
The family would like to thank the Chemung County Nursing Home 5th floor Caregivers, Nurses, Staff, fellow Residents, and Visitors for the compassion, caring and concern extended to Miss Clara over her years as a resident.
Donations in Clara’s name may be made to Chemung County SPCA are welcome and appreciated. Friends and family members may attend the memorial service on Saturday, August 18 from 11:00 to 12 noon. at St Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 402 Sullivan Street, Elmira, New York, 14901.