Mary Lee Clement – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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Mary cMary Lee Clement died on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the home of her daughter, Beverly Barnett, with whom she lived in Franklin, N.C. Her smile, her enthusiasm for life, her loyalty to and love for friends and family will be greatly missed by all. She lived her 100 years to the fullest.

Mary Lee Clement was born Sept. 2, 1913, in Winton, N.C. She spent her early childhood in Norfolk, Va. She became a student at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C at age 16. While there, she was on the debate team, in the glee club, editor of the school newspaper, active in the Baptist Student Union and taught a Sunday School class.

After graduation, she attended and graduated from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C. She was chosen Senior Queen of the Ball at the Campbell University 2011 80th Anniversary Celebration, and Campbell declared Sept. 2, 2013, Mary Lee Clement Day in honor of her 100th birthday.

She married Shelden L. Clement in 1934, moving to Raleigh, N.C. where he was on the graduate faculty of N.C. State. They also lived in Cambridge, Mass., Washington, D.C. and Knoxville, Tenn. In Knoxville, she worked with UT students at First Baptist Church, was president of all Knox County PTA and led two Scout troops from Brownies through high school. She was a nationally accredited flower show judge and organized several garden clubs. She helped to start the Knoxville Dogwood Trail.

Her husband’s division of TVA was transferred to the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama in 1961. She organized, and was twice president of, the Rivermont Garden Club, and she earned her master’s in flower show judging. She started work as a real estate agent in 1962, became a broker and opened her own firm, Clement Realty, in 1966. She started the Women’s Council of Realtors of which she was twice president. She was the Muscle Shoals Board of Realtors Realtor of the Year twice and was president of the Muscle Shoals Board of Realtors and Alabama Realtor of the Year in 1982. She also served on several national committees, was Chairperson of Alive Past 65 for the National Board of Realtors, served as President of the Alabama Chapter of the National Board of Realtors in 1981 and was on the National Women’s Council of Realtors.

She was invited to be the first female member of the Florence Civitan Club serving at each office in Civitan over the years she was there. She was chosen Civitan of the Year in 1985 and was chairman of the Civitan Telethon for United Cerebral Palsy in 1998. She was also active in the Sportsman Club at the University of North Alabama and participated in many athletic events until her move to North Carolina.

A lifelong Baptist, she began teaching Sunday School as a teen and continued to her mid-90s. She began the Pairs and Spares Class at Woodmont Baptist Church after moving to Florence and taught it for over 30 years forming close and enduring friendships there. She dearly loved her church.

She began learning World Tang Soo Do karate at age 70, earning her black belt in 1987. She never missed an international competition from 1983 until 2004, winning 26 trophies, numerous medals in sparring, form and breaking boards. She was World Tang Soo Do Student of the Year in 2002.

After moving to Franklin in 2008, she joined the local Kiwanis Club and the Franklin Garden Club. She attended and made many friends at First Presbyterian Church of Franklin.

Mary Lee is survived by two daughters, Beverly Barnett, of Franklin, and Brenda Wilson, of Wilmington, Del.; two grandchildren, Shannon Miller and husband, Christopher, of Wilmington, Del., and Bethany Howard and husband, Col. Garrett Howard, of Vicenza, Italy; two stepgrandchildren, William Barnett and wife, Betty, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Stephen Barnett and wife, Diamantia, of Roswell, Ga.; four great-grandchildren, Aaron Miller, Elliot Miller, Caroline Howard and Zachary Howard; three stepgreat-grandchildren, Alexis Hawkes, Will Barnett and Lee Barnett; and two nephews, Jerry Clark and wife, Norma, and Ronald Clark and wife, Joan.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, November 2, in the chapel of Macon Funeral Home. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Chaplain of Four Season Hospice, Michael Lee, will officiate.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, November 4, in the County Line Baptist Church Cemetery in Crystal Springs, Miss.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Shelden and Mary Lee Clement Scholarship Fund, Campbell University, P.O. Box 116, Buies Creek, NC 27506.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at

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