Lady Claire Neely Harless, 98, died Jan. 29.
Born March 2, 1913 in Natchez Ms. to David Edward Neely and Louise Clough Lipscomb Neely, she was preceded in death by her loving husband of 56 years, Lewis Daniel Harless and sisters, Annie Mary (Sis) Creel, Dorothy Louise (Dot) Cullum, Marcia Frances Thweatt, Marjorie Lipscomb Glass and Perry Edward (Ned) Gregory.
She is survived by her children, Dan (Jane), Nashville, Linda (Joe) Fann, Tullahoma, Edwin (Vivian), Clemmons, S.C., Winston (Lisa), Nashville, Walton (Marna), Huntsville; sister Elsa Lee Richter; 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Lady Claire resided in Tullahoma since 1996 where she has been a member of the Church of Christ at Cedar Lane. She and her husband had previously lived in Nashville for 30 years. She was a devoted preacher’s wife, an energetic mother for five children, a joyous grandmother for every grandchild and great-grandchild’s achievements. She was a very creative influence in the community in each of the eight states in which she has lived. As a teen, The Tennessean named her Tennessee’s Fairest in 1931. As a minister’s wife she once inspired an initiative to convert a tavern into a church. As a parent she served as the president of the PTA and a Cub Scout den mother. And for more than 75 years she was dedicated to the performance and teaching of piano. In this capacity, she was an active member of the Music and Arts Teachers Guild of Nashville since 1934. She was also an active member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, the American College of Musicians, a member of the Paul Pyle Dulcimer Association, and a recipient of the Emeritus Certificate for Certified Teachers of Piano. She could be exuberant about playing Rook and croquet, opinionated when talking with her sisters, and insistent about gathering family and singing together such songs as “Bless this House.” As the grandniece of David Lipscomb, she was a steadfast advocate for the University. She was indeed a beautiful Lady in every respect. She was a Christian and member of the Church of Christ for more than 80 years. She encouraged countless others at her husband’s side through her bible teaching and ministry related activities.
There will be visitation from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Church of Christ at Cedar Lane in Tullahoma. The funeral will follow at 4 p.m. at the same location. Burial and graveside service will be at Woodlawn in Nashville at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Louise Lipscomb Neely Memorial Scholarship fund c/o David Lipscomb University. Kilgore Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. (931)455-0677.
(McMinnville, Tenn.) Feb. 1, 2012