Clara S. Richard

Published 5:33 pm Monday, January 29, 2024

FRANKLIN – Clara “Claire” Pearl Sonnier Richard passed away shortly before midnight Jan. 26, 2024 at The Village at Woods Edge in Franklin, Virginia. She was 90.

Claire was born at home in the Sulphur Mines in Sulphur, Louisiana on Dec. 13, 1933. She was born to Agnes Ewing Sonnier and Antoine Sonnier, their first child of four. Antoine began work early as a teenager to support his family, he and his twin brother were bakers, unknowing that some of the barrels of flour their boss had them deliver contained moonshine. Antoine later worked as a builder of wooden oil derricks, an oil rigger and as a cowboy.

Claire was a 1952 graduate of Sulphur High School. She starred in several high school

Clara S. Richard

plays, for one of which she was awarded a trophy for Best Actress. Many people have remarked that she was considered a great beauty. Upon graduation from high school, Claire attended Sowela Technical School in Lake Charles, Louisiana. From mail carrier, she advanced to secretary for the plant manager at Cities Services Refineries (now Citgo) in Lake Charles.

In Franklin, Claire worked as Director of Resident Activities and Junior Volunteer Director at East Pavilion, Southampton Memorial Hospital for over 30 years. During that time she started Volunteens, a volunteer program for young women interested in careers in nursing and health care.

Claire was a self-described “Prayer Warrior” and was involved with several community churches including Emmanuel Episcopal Church, House of Prayer Holiness Church and Rock Church. She loved praying with and for others and said she was always grateful to have been brought up in a faithful home and to know the Lord at an early age.

One of Claire’s favorite roles in life was being a grandmother. She was ‘Grammie’ on the west coast and ‘Bammie’ on the east coast. Her granddaughters were treated to ‘Bammie Camp’ every summer, a tradition that included nature walks, visits with friends and lots of ice cream.

Claire was also active and held offices in the Christian Women’s Club, Southampton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the local Parent Teacher Organization and the Franklin Garden Club. She was an avid reader and enjoyed volunteering at the Franklin Library.

Claire is survived by three siblings, Camille “Buddy” Paul Sonnier (Alice), Ralph “Pie” Luke Sonnier and Zilda “Kitten” Sonnier Vincent. She is also survived by two children, a son, Mark James Richard and his three sons, Roman, Deacon and Anton and by a daughter, Julie Richard Flournoy (John) and their two daughters, Maggie and Ava.

The family would like to thank the staff and administration of The Village at Woods Edge for the excellent care and love with which they embraced Claire during her 10 years as a resident there. Franklin is truly blessed by the Village community.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at Wright Funeral Home, 206 West 4th Ave., Franklin with Apostle Dr. C.S. Ricks officiating. The family will receive friends beginning an hour prior at 1 p.m. also at Wright Funeral Home. A reception will immediately follow the memorial service at The Hubs Vine, 1459 Armory Drive in Franklin.

Claire’s final request, in lieu of flowers or donations, was this: “Mend a relationship, take a friend to lunch, write to a friend. Thank God for your blessings. If you don’t know Him, ask Him into your heart.”