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Our Mom, Constance "Conny" E. Berard McClure , 91, died January 29, 2024 in Overlook Nursing Home, Burrillville. She was born in Woonsocket to the late Harvey and Arthemise (Duhamel) Cote. She was the widow of Robert Berard and Norman McClure. Conny was the well-loved mother of seven children. She is survived by three daughters, Rachel Auclair and her husband Wally of Burrillville, Gabrielle Abbate and her husband John of North Smithfield, Michelle Cyr and her husband Dave, of Virginia. She is also survived by her son Paul Berard and girlfriend Tara Goncalves of Woonsocket, RI. She was predeceased by three of her children, Rene Berard, Marc Berard, and Danielle Berard Shearin. Conny also leaves two stepsons, Greg and Gordon McClure, as well as, several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Constance was preceded in death by her five siblings, brother, Charles Cote, and four sisters, Rita Cournoyer, Claire Baillargeon, Theresa Rogers and Clarisse Laverdiere.
When someone dies you reach for words to describe them. Some come easily...loving, kind, generous, gentle. Although those words certainly apply to our Mom we also kept coming back to the word STOIC. Stoic describes a person who can endure pain or hardship without complaining or showing their feelings. It's about being calm and resilient. Stoicism has been a common thread through some of history's greatest leaders. It has been practiced by kings, presidents, artists, writers and entrepreneurs. Stoic people encourage others to focus on what they can control, and accept the present moments of their lives. Stoicism is said to create inner peace. If that doesn't describe our mom we don't know what word would. She held us all together. She kept us all moving forward. She was the Queen of stoicism in our family and she made us stronger because of that. We are thankful to have been blessed to call Conny Berard McClure our Mom.
Even in her final transition to heaven she showed us how a card game of War could make us laugh and forget the reality of her frail health. She showed us that crocheting lap blankets for everyone in our family, and those who cared for her at her nursing home, kept us present in our lives and demonstrated her generous nature. And coloring? Our Mom was the diva of coloring. When we were little she showed us how to color and stay in the lines. As death approached she showed us how coloring simple pictures calmed her spirit and brought color to her life and to everyone who stepped into her room.
Our Mom was a voracious reader who earned degrees from URI and RI College. After receiving her first BA at age 35 she continued to earn two additional Master Degrees that she used in her service as Teacher, Principal and Superintendent for the Greater Woonsocket Regional School system for over thirty years. She believed in education and as much as she enjoyed teaching, she loved to learn.
She also enjoyed spending time and celebrating special occasions with her family, knitting, crocheting, playing cards and traveling to her home in Lake Placid, Florida during the winter months. But her first love was teaching. She taught her children and grandchildren the definition of working hard to achieve your life's goals and sense of purpose. She leaves behind a legacy of well-educated students who she encouraged to reach for the stars and to nurture their faith.
Our Dad nicknamed her "Bonne Femme" which translates to good wife. She was certainly that to two strong men. But she was also a good Mom, a loyal sister, a good friend, and a great Memere. Our family will miss her insights, unassuming humor, and smile. We'll even miss playing those card games of "War". But we know she's now amongst a group of her favorite angels who welcomed her with open arms and a celebration of love and joy and maybe even some new skeins of yarn.
Services will be held Sunday, February 4th with visitation from 2-4 pm followed by a memorial service of remembrance and hope at 4PM in the Holt Funeral Home, 510 South Main Street, Woonsocket. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Beacon Hospice c/o the Amedisysfoundation.com or the Parkinson's Association.