Mary Claire Haslam, 82, passed away on Friday, Feb. 26, in McKinney, Texas, with her beloved husband of 62 years, Don, by her side.
Claire was born in Fernandina Beach, Florida in 1938 to Roan Haman and Enid Green Worrell. Her formative years were spent in Lufkin, Texas.
Claire's childhood was a vivid and joyful one. She was a lover of music and books from a very young age, sang in the church choir and was successful in piano and vocal competitions. Claire was also a serious student and an active member of the Latin Club and the National Honor society.
She attended Baylor University on a full academic scholarship from Southland Pulp Mill. She was a member of AO sorority (now Pi Beta Phi), a student athlete tutor and majored in Music and Latin.
During her sophomore year, Claire caught Don's eye as he was walking through the Student Union. The story of their courtship has been well-told amongst her family and friends over the years with Don often sharing that he fell in love with Claire immediately. After some chasing, Claire fell in love with him, too, and they married soon thereafter.
Claire remained a lover of learning and was a wonderful conversationalist, taking great joy in discussions about ancient history, linguistics, geography, religion and psychology. In her early fifties, she continued this pursuit of learning by earning a master's degree and PhD in counseling and spent the next 25 years counseling victims of domestic violence.
Claire was also well-known as a lover of people. She often described her father with the Anglo-Irish idiom, "Hail, fellow - well met!". She was very much like him in this way, friendly, never met a stranger, and often generous with a complement and a hug.
As a woman of deep faith, Claire believed in the love and goodness of God and sought to share that love with those around her. She often recalled her experience as a young girl attending First Baptist Church in Lufkin, accepting the call for youth to commit their lives to mission and ministry. She viewed her life thereafter as a response to that calling through her love for and devotion to her family, community, counseling clients, students, interns, and friends. Throughout her 82 years of living, she demonstrated this commitment consistently.
Claire is survived by her husband, Don Sr., of McKinney; her son, Don Jr., of Dallas; daughters, Hope and Debralee Swancy-Haslam, of McKinney; daughter, Molly, of Nashville and her fiance, Tim Filbert; granddaughter, Chloe Haslam, of Nashville; sister, Nancy Evans Hutto; nephews, Andy Evans, Jay Evans and his son, Jeremiah, of Austin, Jeff and Ann Rene Evans and their children, Audrey, Shelby and Jeffrey Evans; as well as Laura Beth and Kaitlyn Leveridge, of Tampa, Florida; and Jonathan and Kat Evans and their children, Easton and Solomon, of Laurinburg, North Carolina.
A private memorial service is under the direction of Bright-Holland Funeral Home. Any floral tributes for Mrs. Haslam may be delivered to Bright-Holland Funeral Home by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 1.
The family asks that donations made in Claire's memory are sent to SAFE-T Crisis Center, 204 Patrick Street, Mt Pleasant, Texas 75456.
To leave a message or tribute for the family please visit brighthollandfuneralhome.com.