August 21, 1927 - November 27, 2020
Clemeal Harry – “I’m holding on.” Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage – U. S. Army Core Values “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:1-4 (ESV) Two hours past the midnight hour, November 27, 2020, during a peaceful slumber, Clemeal Harry transitioned to the new Jerusalem. His final days were spent at Hospice House where loving family members and friends visited him frequently. Clemeal, known for his deep thundering bass voice, was granted the favor of God, spending 93 earthly years among humanity as a devoted servant of God, husband, father, grandfather, godfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, teacher, professor, mentor, counselor, student, and more. Born in the small rural village of Angie, LA, August 21,1927, he was the eldest son of eight children born to the late Louis and Rebecca Peters Harry. Clemeal was fueled by creativity, inquisitiveness, and intellectual stimulation. He attended and graduated Wesley Ray School (1946) as Valedictorian of a small graduating class. Inspired by his high school agriculture teacher, he entered college at Southern University and A & M College, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences. Immediately after graduating from Southern University, he was selected to matriculate Louisiana State University, during the Jim Crow era, persevering and enduring discrimination and oppression, to obtain a Master of Science degree. He continued his educational pursuits by obtaining a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Southern University and A & M College and the plus 30 beyond the Master’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University. While focusing on the college experience as a young student, Clemeal was unexpectedly drafted to serve in the Korean Conflict. A decorated veteran who fought in The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, as a Combat Medic with the 25th Division, 14th Regiment, Company C, Clemeal was awarded the Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars, the Korean Service Medal and the Medical Badge. Clemeal proudly embraced his military experience by stating, “I am proud and honored to have defended and served my country” and exemplified the U. S. Army’s Core Values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Clemeal returned home in 1953, and always described himself as “a different person after being in a war.” Although he returned to college with an experience most would never have and one that he did not want anyone to experience, he persevered and achieved his goal of obtaining his college degree. While attending Southern University, Clemeal met Rosie Lee Cannon Harry, who tragically and suddenly died in 1990, rendering him a widower after 37 years of marriage. Clemeal and Rosie proudly raised two daughters: Dr. Sonja Valechia Harry and Sharolyn Vanetta Harry. Eventually discovering love again, Clemeal married Geneva Bradford Bates (Harry), October 4, 1997, and embarked on a new matrimonial journey. Colette Bates Kennedy, the daughter of Geneva, lovingly and endearingly became a bonus daughter to Clemeal. Clemeal secured employment in the small town of Jennings, LA working for the Department of Parks and Recreation and as an Orderly (Nurses Assistant) in a nursing home. His desire was to teach and so he remained steadfast in his pursuit of employment in the field of education and in 1966 he and his family moved to Covington, LA where he would become principal of an all-Black segregated school in Sun, LA located in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System. A few years later, schools would become integrated and Clemeal transferred to a school in Folsom, LA where he began a long and illustrious 30-year career as a teacher and Principal Emeritus of Folsom Jr. High School. Clemeal, wholeheartedly dedicated to his craft of teaching and administration, was known for his straight forward approach, stern manner of speaking, and strict manner of discipline, along with the love, care, and concern he showed for all students. He was well loved and embraced in a family-like manner by the Folsom, LA community. Beginning in childhood, he developed a fastidious and meticulous attitude toward dressing, which continued into adulthood, presenting himself as always well-dressed, usually in a shirt, tie, and suit coat. As a mentor, he demanded respect and superb performance from students, whom he endearingly referred to as “knuckleheads” as well as teachers. Clemeal was often described as and called “Dr. Joe Clark,” who was depicted in the auto biographical film “Lean On Me” where he was portrayed as a strict but caring disciplinarian. Christianity provided the foundation for his upbringing and during his adult life. Clemeal was baptized as an infant and completed Catechism at Wesley Ray United Methodist Church, Angie, LA. His parents instilled in him a love for God and a desire to be a very supportive and devoted servant of God by serving in church. Upon moving to Covington, he joined Doughty Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and later joined Starlight Baptist Church, where his late wife was a member. He returned with his family, to Doughty Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church where he served for many years until he began experiencing failing health and could no longer participate and serve. As a dedicated servant, Clemeal served in both churches as: Lay Speaker, Superintendent of Sunday School, Sunday School Teacher, Deacon, and many other roles. Clemeal loved meeting people and enjoyed conversing with others and easily commanded a room. He was known for having a green thumb and taught gardening and plant care to community members. He also was a lover of animals and served for several years as the advisor for Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the 4-H Club at Folsom Jr. High, teaching and mentoring youth in preparation for local and state livestock shows. He enjoyed engaging in social activities and was a member of several organizations. A proud alumnus of Southern University, Clemeal was instrumental in founding the Greater North Shore Chapter of the Southern University Alumni Federation and instituted and coordinated an annual College Visitation & Tour of Southern University and A & M College for high school students living in the Greater Covington, LA Area. His organizational membership included: Robert H. Burns American Legion Post 16, Covington, LA, Greater Northshore, Southern University Alumni Association, Southern University True Blue Foundation, St. Tammany Parish Foundation, Ochsner Foundation, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), American Red Cross, and Louisiana Association of Principals and Executives. The many honors and recognitions bestowed upon Clemeal Harry, spanning agricultural, educational, military, church, and community services, are beyond enumerating but speak to his spirit of dedicated and committed service to others. Family members who received their wings and transitioned before Clemeal include his loving and devoted parents, Louis and Rebecca Peters Harry; his precious two–year old angel, Sharon Glynetta Harry, four adoring sisters, Victoria Lett, Elizabeth Moses, Nercile Holmes, and Arnice Harry Pittman; and his former late wife Rosie Lee Cannon Harry. To carry on his legacy, Clemeal is survived by his darling wife, Geneva Harry; daughters Dr. Sonja Valechia Harry, USN, LCDR (ret.) (Jeff McGill), Odessa, FL and Sharolyn Vanetta Harry, Winston Salem, NC; bonus daughter Colette Bates Kennedy (Reginald), Garland, TX; beloved grandchildren LT Jonathan Louis Clark, USN (Jessica) and Jalyn-Rose Lea Clark; devoted and loving brothers Robert L. Harry (Roberta), Moss Point, MS, Julius Harry (Rosalind), Lancaster, CA; adoring mother-in-law Iola C. Bradford, Wilson, LA; brothers-in-law Wilford Bradford, Ted Holmes, Raymond Cannon, Michael Cannon; sister-in-law Esther LaVonne May, in addition to several god-children and loving nieces, nephews, cousins, great nieces, great nephews and a close friend Joe Andrus. Heartfelt gratitude goes to the staff at Hospice House, Slidell, LA who cared for Clemeal as though he was a member of their very own family. We are grateful for the care and concern they showered on Clemeal as well as on family and friends who visited. Clemeal touched the lives of many – family, friends, colleagues, church members, students, community members, neighbors, associates, and strangers, as well as those who knew of him through others. The funeral services will be held on Thursday, December 3, 2020 at First Baptist Church on 16333 LA 1085, Covington, LA officiated by Reverend Kerry James. Visitation will begin at 9:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M., until services begin. Interment will follow services at Pinecrest Memorial Gardens, 2260 W. 21st Avenue, Covington, LA. Relatives, friends, and the Doughty Chapel AME Church family are invited to attend. As mandated by the state of Louisiana due to COVID-19 pandemic, attendance is limited to 250 individuals. Everyone is required to adhere to all restrictions, including wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing at all times. In lieu of flowers, donations may be mailed to the Hospice House at P.O. Box 5806, Slidell, LA 70469 or made via Paypal to [email protected] Website: https://thehospicehouse.org. Arrangements entrusted to E. J. Fielding Funeral Home, 2260 W. 21st Avenue, Covington, LA. Please visit www.ejfieldingfh.com to sign the online guestbook to share memories and condolences for the family. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26. (NKJV)
Clemeal Harry – “I’m holding on.” Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage – U. S. Army Core Values “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in... View Obituary & Service Information
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