Clara Augusta Cleaves Seymour passed away peacefully on September 20th at Good Shepherd Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center with friends and devoted caretakers at her side. She was Rindge’s oldest citizen at 103 having been bestowed the Boston Post Cane a month before her 101st birthday.
She was born in Steuben, Maine on January 29th, 1910 to Seth H. and Marcia (White) Cleaves. She moved to Rindge, NH at the age of 4 when her family relocated to accept positions working for Mary L Ware. Clara and her sister Evelyn enjoyed an idyllic childhood growing up on the Ware Farm where her father was in charge of the “driving horses” and her mother ran the farm household for Miss Ware, a prominent Bostonian.
She graduated from Murdock High School in Winchendon, Ma and then went on for an additional year at Cushing Academy before entering Simmons College. She earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at Simmons in the field of Social Work. She was one of two graduates to be awarded a fellowship in psychiatric social work, a relatively new field at the time. Upon completing her studies she embarked on a lifelong career of helping others, beginning as a social worker for the NH State Industrial School then becoming District Supervisor State Welfare. She spent 16 years working for Traveler’s Aid, one of the original "United Services Organizations" - USO for short - that provided assistance to traveling service men and women during World War II. She continued with Traveler’s Aid after the war as an Executive in the Providence RI office. She ended her career serving 11 years as a Supervisor of Case Workers at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She was active in Social Welfare organizations and was listed in ‘Who’s Who of American Women’ in 1957. She officially retired in 1973 but her career of helping others continued for another 10 years as the Overseer of Welfare for the Town of Rindge.
She married Francis E. Seymour on Sept 5, 1960 and they made their home at the family cabin on Pool Pond in Rindge sharing many happy years there together until Francis’ death in 1991. The couple were avid snowmobilers and founding members of the Monadnock Sno-Moles.
Clara was a founding member of the Rindge Historical Society and the Rindge Women’s Club and served as President of both organizations. She also served on the Board of Trustees for her beloved Cathedral of the Pines. Her love of the Cathedral began in her early years when her father helped Dr. Sloan clear the site after the Hurricane of 1938 and her devotion to the Cathedral and its mission continued throughout her life.
Clara was known for her love of life, particularly the outdoors. She swam across Pool Pond daily every summer well into her 80’s. She loved to spend time outdoors in the winter snowshoeing and on her Skidoo. She regaled friends and family with stories of her adventures including many ascents of Mount Monadnock and Mount Washington. She loved to travel and wrote an essay on her visit to Europe. She and her sister enjoyed cruising on the QEII and had several memorable voyages. She was a true Yankee, independent and stoic, and a life-long fan of the Boston Red Sox. She brightened the lives of everyone she encountered and will be dearly missed by her two best friends, Cynthia Hamilton and Maryann Harper.
There are no calling hours. A memorial service will be held at West Rindge Methodist Church on Saturday, October 5th at 2 PM. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cathedral of the Pines, 10 Hale Hill Road, Rindge, NH 03461.