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Juanita Clay

Obituary Condolences

Juanita S. Clay PORTSMOUTH - On Nov. 12, 2009, Juanita Denise Sexton Clay, a stately "Queen," a phenomenal wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and, most importantly, a prepared bride, awakened from her sleep, answered the summons call and united with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is our eternal bridegroom. Juanita Denise made her grand entrance into this world July 31, 1938. She was born in Portsmouth to the late William and Wiser Sexton. She was the ninth of 15 children. "Nita," or "Nita Baby," as she was affectionately called, was formally educated in the Portsmouth Public Schools system where she graduated from the historical I.C. Norcom High School. Juanita learned early that life had no meaning without the presence of Jesus Christ. She accepted Him into her heart as her Lord and Savior and He remained there until she entered His courts. She spent her early childhood as a member of Emmanuel AME Church and later joined her husband in membership at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. When her husband, the Rev. Dr. Rayphield Clay, excepted the call as pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Chesapeake, she served faithfully and tirelessly as first lady for more than 35 years. Juanita was also a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Rhoda chapter, Tidewater Area Missionaries, Tidewater Ministers' Wives and Widows (where she served as a former president), Virginia Association of Ministers' Wives and Widows and the International Ministers' Wives and Widows. Left behind to carry on the Queen's legacy are her lovingly devoted husband of 43 years, the Rev. Dr. Rayphield Clay; six children Karen Earls (the Rev. Robert Sr.), Kevin Clay, Raynard Clay, Cheryl Owens (Darryl), Fern Speight (Clinton) and Connie Clay; one sister, Mogul Porter (Casey) of Georgia; two brothers, Willard Sexton of California and Ronald Sexton of New Jersey; 18 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. To her family she was not just a queen, she was "The Queen." A queen is one who is greatly admired, stands out above all others, and is the best of its kind. "The Queen" has left her throne for her heavenly home, yet her legacy is eminent and eternal. A funeral will be held Tuesday, Nov. 17, at noon in Mount Zion Baptist Church. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Graves Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Published in The Virginian Pilot on Nov. 15, 2009
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