Clare Amey Southerland Bailey
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Died peacefully at home beside her beloved husband David on Tuesday July 16, in Wakefield Rhode Island, after struggling valiantly against illness for some months. Clare was an exceptional person of tremendous intelligence, warmth, and humor, who lived the fullest possible life filled by a myriad of interests and passions, above all for her family and friends. The loss to those left behind is incalculable.
Clare was born April 6, 1929, in Wilmington Delaware, the younger of two daughters of Clarence and Katharine Southerland. Her father was a distinguished attorney and at the end of his career, the first Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. Her mother, Katharine Virden Southerland, was a writer who before her marriage worked at the Ladies Home Journal, and was the first woman employee to enter the front door of the Curtis Publishing House in New York. She published a number of books, including "The Crooked Eye," a mystery novel.
Clare attended Tower Hill Day School in Wilmington, and boarded at the Westover School, and there she continued to expand her early love for theater and drama. She went on to graduate from Sarah Lawrence, and then moved to New York City, where she was a production assistant on a Broadway show. She met her first husband, Charles B. Lenahan, and they wed in December 1954. As Mr. Lenahan worked for Holiday Magazine, they lived in several places, including Ann Arbor Michigan. They landed in Hamden Connecticut where her husband was the editor and publisher of the Hamden Chronicle. The paper won recognition as an outstanding local newspaper, and Clare was actively engaged in managing the business. Clare began her involvement in altruistic and philanthropic activities around the Arts which lasted her lifetime. During this period she also zealously pursued her musical interests, studying piano with Bruce Simons of Yale University.
After her first husband passed away, in 1967 Clare met and married Duncan H. Doolittle in December of that year. Clare took up residence at 164 Old Post Road in Wakefield with Duncan and his five children, recently returned from living in England. She hit the ground running, accepting the formidable challenges of managing a large household, and selflessly giving of herself to the children, whom she embraced and loved unconditionally as her own, as they did her. Her prodigious powers of entertaining and nurturing came into full play, and the house was the site of countless parties and gatherings. In 1978, Clare and Duncan purchased a travel agency, which was reinvented as Yankee Travel. Clare eventually became sole owner, successfully uniting her business acumen and love of people and travel, until she sold the agency in 1989. She also acquired property in Maine northeast of Bangor, which she added to over the years to protect the forest and watershed of the west branch of the Union River.
The last glorious chapter of Clare's life commenced in 1986 after her second marriage ended. Her friendship with David Z. Bailey quickly blossomed into a wonderful romance and soul mate partnership which continued until her last breath. Miraculously, these two melded a new inclusive family of nine children and all of the next generation of Doolittles and Baileys, when they married in June 1988. In the twenty five years since, Clare and David trotted the globe, visiting every continent, often with lucky friends and family members. Trips up and down the eastern seaboard for cultural events were a constant. Clare, a self described 'wannabe actress' embarked on a delightful association with South County Players, along with step daughter Nicole and step granddaughters Jessie and Jenna. Little Rest Readers, their play reading group, was a rich focal point and catalyst for elaborate social functions. The Bowling Group provided a never ending source of fun and friendship. David and Clare packed up the truck every summer and fall and drove up to Maine to their very rustic cabin for nature retreats and quiet. These were some of her happiest times.
Clare was predeceased by both of her parents, and her sister Katharine Southerland Miller Johnson. She is survived by her husband, David Z. Bailey; stepchildren William Doolittle and wife Misa, Harriet Vaughan and husband Wheaton, Abby Doolittle, Nicole Nomer and husband Jonathan, Elisha Doolittle, David Bailey and wife Dorothy, Peter Bailey, Jeffrey Bailey and wife Julia, and Elvia Nina Roe and husband Peter; step grandchildren Josina Manu, Maki Doolittle, Neamat Rebecca Adams, Alana Rosch, Jessie Northup, Jenna Doolittle, Alex Nomer, Breck Bailey, Evan Bailey, Coulter Bailey, Elizabeth Bailey, Lucy Bailey, George Bailey, Orlena Roe, Theron Roe; and step great grandchildren Andrew and Matthew Adams. She is also survived by her cousins Ellen White, Joanna Virden, David Hollingsworth, and Deborah Apple; nieces Amey Miller, Abigail Miller, Clare Miller Watsky, Marion Miller, Katharine Miller, and Eunice Johnson Panetta; and ten grand nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the South County Land Trust, 227 Robinson Street, Wakefield, R.I. 02879, the Courthouse Center for the Arts, 3481 Kingston Road, West Kingston, R.I. 02892, and Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island,1085 North Main Street, Providence R.I. 02904. A Memorial Celebration of Clare's life, open to all, will be held on Wednesday, August 14, 2013, at the Dunes Club,137 Boston Neck Road, Narragansett, R.I., at 4 p.m. Light fare and refreshments will be served.
For guest book and condolences, averystortifuneralhome.com
Published in The News Journal on July 23, 2013