Clara Gaines Wiki
Clara Gaines, widow of “Big House” Gaines dies.
She served as an educator in Forsyth County and a fixture in the Winston-Salem community for more than half a century. And as the wife of Clarence “Big House” Gaines, Clara Gaines became a beloved mother figure for her actors as well, as “the perfect balance” for her 47-year legendary coaching career.
Known as “Lady. Clara,” Clara died in Chicago on Thursday night at the age of 95 of complications from pneumonia.
“She had a good life and a proud life,” her daughter, Lisa Gaines McDonald, said on the phone Friday morning. “A few weeks were tough, but I put him in a nursing home because that’s how I could see was humble to the end, but his body somehow failed.”
Clara Gaines, who was married for 55 years until her husband’s death in April 2005, taught English and Latin at the former Atkins High School before becoming a guidance counselor there. She moved to East Forsyth after the schools were separated she.
“My mom was a great educator and loved being in the classroom and teaching,” Lisa said.
Clara moved to Chicago in 2017 to be closer to Lisa. His brother, Clarence Jr. He lives in Los Angeles and frequently visits Winston-Salem and Chicago.
Lisa showed her mother a YouTube clip of Big House on Thursday talking about Clara’s influence. could hear it and smiled, ”Lisa said.
Clara Gaines died just before CBS Sports Network released a documentary about the 1966-67 NCAA Division II national championship team led by Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, which went to 31-1, her husband’s most famous team.
Big House Gaines arrived in Winston-Salem in 1945 and started out as a four-year football coach in addition to coaching basketball. met Clara Berry, the daughter of a United Methodist minister, in 1946. got stuck in basketball and won 828 games and gained a place in almost all basketball halls of fame.
“We both moved to Winston-Salem and we finally met,” he told the Journal in 2015. “God brought us together.”
What made Clara and Big House and their two children such a big part of the WSSU and Winston-Salem community is their commitment to each other and to the region. The Big House could have gone to a bigger job to pay more, but that wasn’t the point.
After the Great House died, Clara moved to St. He remained active with the Paul United Methodist Church and the Reynolda Rotary Club. The Rotary Club is providing scholarships to local students to join WSSU through a golf tournament named after his wife. The tournament has been going strong for 14 years and has raised over $ 100,000, according to Warren Steen of the Reynolda Rotary Club. On February 20, 2006, in the street in front of their house in East Winston, Winston-Salem, “Big House Gaines Blvd. approved to name it. Clarence Jr. and the house where Lisa grew up sits less than a mile from the WSSU campus.
“I remember I was about 12 years old and I was able to walk around campus without any problems, and the same thing is with my brother,” Lisa said. “It was a different time, but we loved it, and the closeness we have as a family is something I will always cherish.”
Monroe, who lives in New York, says there’s no doubt about the effect the Gaines has had on her.
“They were not just a powerful couple of Winston-Salem, they represented something as much as parents and role models,” Monroe said. “Obviously, it was a father figure for most of us, but it was also a mother figure for us, and we needed it.”
Playing for Gaines in the late 1970s, Tim Grant was an assistant coach under Gaines from 1981 until Gaines’s retirement in 1993.
“Miss Gaines was the perfect balance for Aries,” Grant said. “They say opposites are attractive, and She was always a loving person who you could talk to if you had any problems.”
Grant lost his mother last November.
“Now I feel like I lost my second mother,” Grant said. “To me, what Mrs. Gaines and Big House has impressed over the years is not just the athletes, but how many WSSU students there are. They treated everyone like family and they let you know if you screwed it up and made sure to get you on the right track.” From ESPN Stephen A. Smith, a former actor under the Gaines and a 1991 WSSU graduate, wrote via email that Clara Gaines is one of her all-time favorite people.
“It was an Angel for all of us associated with the program,” Smith wrote. “As tough as Coach Gaines, she was so sweet, she was a very beautiful woman and person.
“Sometimes he was the one who pulled him back when he got angry after a loss …didn’t say a negative word to any of us and he religiously opened his house to us. We loved him. We still love him. We still love him. We still love him. He will always love him. He’s so sad that he’s gone but where exactly is he All we have to do is look up. ”
Lisa said there will be a small funeral in Winston-Salem over the next few weeks due to COVID-19 issues. Clara survived by her two children Lisa and Clarence Jr., as well as four grandchildren Olivia and Garrett Gaines, Loran Gaines McDonald and Ryan Gaines McDonald.
“There have been times recently when he asked me when he was going back to Winston-Salem,” Lisa said.