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Clara Marie Bickford Heer


1930 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Clara Marie Bickford, born March 6, 1930, was the daughter of the Rev. John Thomas and Margaret Vardy Millar Bickford, Presbyterian missionaries in Shuntehfu, China. Growing up in politically unstable times made Clara accepting, open, brave and resilient, resulting in a lifetime of response to God's calling. She graduated as student body president from Peking American School, then finished college at Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1952. She received a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1955. That same year Clara married the Rev. Ray W. Heer from Laguna Beach. In May 2015 they celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. During those years they provided a loving home for 35 different people including foster children, international students, college students, Shakespearean actors, family members and clergy between calls. Over the years the family lived in San Luis Obispo, Carpinteria, Bell Gardens and Santa Ana. In Clara's professional life she served as an Educator in Presbyterian churches in Visalia, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Aptos, CA. In addition to trips to China, her birthplace, Clara and Ray , often as members of choirs, toured the Soviet Union, Europe, Scandinavia and Central America visiting friends and relatives. The Heers retired to Monte Vista Grove Homes in Pasadena in 1997, where they have been active in the community and the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. Clara passed away Aug 14, 2015 from complications of lung and heart disease. She willed her body to the UC Irvine School of Medicine Willed Body Program for medical research. She is survived by her husband, the Rev. Dr. Ray W. Heer, daughters Grace Lynne Heer of Santa Ana; Carol Beth (Kevin) Holsinger of Menlo Park; Gloria (James) Lane of Mentor, Ohio; grandchildren Alexander David Lane and Alyssa Marie Lane; siblings Jean Baggerly of Fort Worth, Texas; and John Thomas (Virginia) Bickford of Silver Spring, MD. She was "Aunt Clara" to 18 nieces and nephews and their spouses and children, and she leaves hosts of loving friends. Clara was predeceased by her parents and her sister, Esther (the Rev. John) Shackelford. Memorial Services will be held at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E.Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 2:30 p.m. Saturday Sept. 5, 2015. Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be given to Monte Vista Grove Homes Quality of Life Fund, 2889 San Pasqual St., Pasadena, CA. 91007.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 28, 2015
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