Remembering Clara Allen

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Clara Allen - 2

AAUW Chapel Hill members Syd Elstran, Allen, Doris Bernlohr.

AAUW of North Carolina is saddened by the death of our devoted member and friend Clara Allen on May 3, 2012. She was just a few days short of her ninety-fourth birthday. She had been a member of AAUW for 48 years.

AAUW became a part of Clara’s life when she joined the AAUW Naugatuck (CT) Branch in 1964. While in Naugatuck, Clara held almost every position: membership chair, educational foundation chair, historian, secretary, and chair of almost every other committee. She served two 4-year terms as president, although not consecutively. On the state level for AAUW of Connecticut, she was program vice-president and president.

Since moving to Chapel Hill in 1987, Clara continued to be a devoted and active member of the AAUW Chapel Hill Branch.

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Clara Allen with fellow member of the Chapel Hill branch, Isabel Fowler.

As in Connecticut, she held many leadership positions in the Chapel Hill Branch including president 1995-97 and membership vice-president, and she has always been an advisor to the board. At the state level for AAUW of North Carolina, Clara served as historian and spent two years writing a book on the history of AAUW in North Carolina. AAUW of North Carolina is proud of this book, written in 2003, entitled “North Carolina AAUW History 1947-2001.” It has been an important reference for today’s North Carolina branches. During the last years Clara struggled with neuropathy and arthritis. Pain was her daily companion. She learned to deal with it with dignity and grace.

While in Connecticut, a devotee of adult education in general, Clara was instrumental in starting an adult education, program called Charter Oak State College. This was a college without walls and without computers. Students would go to libraries for classes where they would meet teacher/counselors to help them in their studies. This program is presently endorsed by the State of Connecticut and offers courses online. Since the Fall of 2011, Charter Oak State College also offers a master’s degree program.

Information and pictures above provided by Jean Green and Kay White of the Chapel Hill branch.

Her obituary appeared on May 6. in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle and the Durham (NC) Herald-Sun.

AAUW of North Carolina expresses sympathy to Clara’s remaining family as well as those in the Chapel Hill Branch who knew her so well.