Catholic 08

Clara Belle Washington Ford

September 17, 1936 ~ August 7, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old


Clara Belle Washington was born to George and Lonnie Heyward Washington on September 17, 1936, in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. She was later parented by James Heyward, Phylis Alston Heyward, and Charlena Holmes Heyward. Clara attended grade school at St. James Rosenwald School in Burgess and graduated with honors from Whittemore High School in Conway. Along with her family, she attended Heaven’s Gate United Methodist Church.

Supported by the Heyward and Washington families, she attended Norfolk State College (Norfolk, Virginia) earning a degree in Elementary Education. While in college, she met her soon-to-be husband, Wallace Ford. However, upon graduation she was determined to first return home, become employed, and help her family financially. Later, she married Wallace Ford.

Mrs. Ford loved teaching. She had high standards and expected her students to do the same. She taught 3rd grade at Whittemore Elementary School in Conway for several years. Rewarded for her performance, she was also appointed interim principal. After integration, she taught 4th grade at Homewood Elementary School. While at Homewood, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of South Carolina. After 36 years of teaching, she retired from the Horry County School System.

 As a member of Heaven’s Gate, Mrs. Ford faithfully served as a Sunday School Teacher, a member of the Senior Choir, President of the United Methodist Women, Church Treasurer, and Church Historian. Assisting wherever needed, no job was too small nor too big. She delighted in any challenge.

Family was always a priority for Clara. She was a caregiver to several of her aging family members: Wallace Heyward, James Heyward, Rebecca Powell, Mamie Smalls, Viola Mitchell, Charlena Heyward, Lonnie Smalls, and Phylis Smitherman.

In her retirement years, Mrs. Ford partnered with Cousin Leila Mention to start the Heyward-Holmes-Poinsette Family Reunion. She became a member of the Whittemore Affiliates, a supporter of the Freewoods Farm, and most importantly a caregiver/chauffeur to her granddaughter Megan. She had a strong desire to study God’s Word and faithfully attended Bible Study not only at her church but also at Gordan Chapel Church and the Surfside Senior Center.

With her health fading over the recent years, Mrs. Ford departed this life on August 7, 2023, at the age of 86. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Joe Louis Washington, her dear cousin Priscilla Heyward, and her sister Phylis W. Smitherman.

Mrs. Ford leaves to mourn and cherish her memory, her two daughters: Angie Ford Williams (Hendley) and Tremelia Heyward Donaldson. Grandchildren: Megan Williams, Gerald Conrad Donaldson II, and Geliyah Donaldson. Brothers: Clarence Smalls and Max Heyward. Godson: Mervin Heyward. Goddaughter: Louisa Gaiter Johnson. Sister-in-law: Earnestine F. Wainwright. Devoted family/friends: Emma Besselieu, Pam Blake, Mary Holmes, Sarah Jones, Leola Stevens, and Shirley Wiggins. Long Term Caregivers: Blondelle Williams, Betty Beaty, Ellen Carr, and Peggy Geathers. She also leaves an extended family, loving friends, and colleagues. Both gentle and strong, Clara Washington Ford persevered through sometimes difficult journeys; yet she enjoyed a life of many celebrations and accomplishments. Her faith and spirit were unbreakable!

Matthew 25:21(NIV) “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

The Viewing details are as follows:

The Brook United Methodist Church

9705 St. James Road

Myrtle Beach, SC 29588

Friday, August 11, 2023

2-6 PM

The Funeral details are as follows:

Belin United Methodist Church

4182 US-17 Business

Murrells Inlet, SC 28576

Saturday, August 12, 2023

4 PM

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program

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August 11, 2023

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
The Brook UMC
9705 St. James Rd
Myrtle Beach, SC 29576

Funeral Service
August 12, 2023

4:00 PM
Belin United Methodist Church

Video is available for this event


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