Claire Mae Broome Waller, 91, entered eternal life Tuesday, April 26, peacefully and surrounded by her family. Claire was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, D. Ray Waller; parents, Samuel and Gussie Broome; her brother, Neal Broome, and sister, Mildred Broome Warlick.
Claire moved to Kannapolis in the early 1950s after having attended Louisburg Junior College in Louisburg, NC, and earning her Bachelor of Science in Math and Physical Education from the then Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone. Her first job was with the Cannon Memorial YMCA in the women’s and girls’ area before taking a position as an English teacher at Winecoff School in Concord. In her words, “It was not until after our first child, Mike, was born that I accepted my first teaching position, and that first year was almost my last.” She took time off from working after that first year to have her second child, David, and stayed at home until the boys were in school. She ultimately renewed her teaching certificate and returned to teaching in her field in 1966 at Cannon Junior High School. In a biographical sketch Claire provided for Teacher of the Year information, she noted that teaching is not all fun and games, “but the rewards come from the students who feel that way in some way I challenged them and helped them grow into a better citizen and provided them with an educational basis which helped them fulfill their ambitions.”
She earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from UNCC in 1977 along with a certification in Gifted and Talented. She taught regular and advanced classes of Algebra and served as a resource teacher for the gifted and talented students. Claire was Teacher of the Year at Cannon Junior High School in 1978.
Claire took her professional development seriously. She was a member of a number of professional organizations, including the NC Association of Educators, the National Education Association, Association of Classroom Teachers, National Council Teachers of Mathematics, Council Exceptional Children and the NC Association for Gifted and Talented. She held board and committee roles at a number of those. She also was active in her church and community, serving in membership, officer and committee roles at St. John’s Reformed Church, Delta Kappa Gamma Society (for women educators) and the State Employee Credit Union (advisory board), among others. This all was in addition to being a mom and supporting her sons who were athletes and Boy Scouts, and wife, supporting her husband at various YMCA events.
After retiring from teaching, Claire was active in a retired teachers organization, as well as embracing her role as a grandmother. She always was able to provide back-up child care for her grandchildren, and she and “Grandpa Ray,” had summer camp week for many years.
Maintaining family traditions was important and Claire and Ray’s home became the gathering place for years, particularly at Christmas. There was the Christmas Eve drop-in for family and friends after Christmas Eve services, the Waller Christmas night dinner with 40+ people and often a summer celebration with the same. She also enjoyed hosting or attending Broome family functions.
Claire is survived by her sons Mike (Mary) Waller of Weddington, NC, and David (Gay) Waller of China Grove; three grandchildren Lincoln (Jennifer) Waller of Cary, NC, Juliet Waller of West Palm Beach, FL, and Sarah Waller of Cary, NC; two great-grandchildren Madison and Caroline Waller; one brother, Randy (Cynthia) Broome of Mint Hill, NC; and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service celebrating Claire’s life will be held Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m., at St. John’s Reformed Church, 901 N. Main St., Kannapolis, NC, 28081, with the family receiving friends following the service. Memorials may be sent to St. John’s Reformed Church (same address as service) or to the Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA, 101 YMCA Dr., Kannapolis, NC 28081.
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