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Born on October 11, 1913 in Vieux
Fort, St. Lucia, W.I., Clara was the
youngest of five children born to
Oswald Monsanto of St. Thomas and
Naomi Lartigue Monsanto ofChoiseul,
St. Lucia. At age three, along with her
family, Clara moved to Castries, St.
Lucia, where she spent her formative
years and attended the St. Joseph
As a young girl, Clara grew up in a
business environment. Her mother
was a homemaker and her father
owned a hardware and a grocery store.
By the age of twelve, Clara had devel- .
oped a deep interest in her father's
stores. After school, she handled the bookkeeping and acted as guardian
of the stores.
Upon her mother's death, Clara, then seventeen, came with her father
to St. Thomas to join his family at Estate Brookman. Her stay was short as
aer father passed away within the year. She again traveled, this time to
V'ew York to join her eldest brother, Cyril. She had an interest in the
gatment industry and, thus, took a job in a garment factory. Later, she
worked in another factory that made bandages for soldiers overseas in
Norld War II. She met the late Eric L. O'Neal, M.D. and they were
married on February 24, 1939 at St. Paul's Church in New York. She
worked as her husband's private secretary in his private office in Harlem,
In 1942, her husband's close friend and classmate from medical school,
ohn S. Moorhead, Sr., M.D., convinced them to move to St. Thomas. Her
husband joined the staff of Municipal Hospital and went into private
practicee as well. Clara became the Secretary for the American Red Cross,
one of her duties being the notification of next of kin.
Their stay in St. Thomas was interrupted in the late forties when Clara
accunIpaniCuu ncr rIusuInu r.ri C u INCW I urK. t pulIUC dLUILIUIid LI dIllliIu.
While there, she pursued her interest in fashion design and attended the
Pratt Institute. The couple returned to the Virgin Islands in late 1948. On
January 8, 1949, they became the proud parents of a daughter, Mari
Clara was a lady of vision. This vision, enhanced by the experience she
had gained working in her father's stores as well as later jobs, enabled her
to open her first store, Bamboula, Inc. forty-five years ago on Main Street.
Over the years, this store occupied three locations on Main Street. Subse-
quently, she opened two branches of the Trinidad and Tobago affiliated Y.
DeLima Jewelry store, also on Main Street, incorporating lines formerly
carried by Bamboula, which were personally selected by her from around
Clara was special in a number of ways. Her thinking was original and
her attitude was that of a pioneer. It is believed that she was the first gift
shop proprietor that extended credit to her customers. She pursued her
goals to the very end, even if it meant standing up to the powers that be.
At a time when businesses were owned and operated primarily by males,
Clara was among the very few females engaged in such enterprise. Her
business acumen, sense of security and independence allowed her to make
.trips nationally and internationally, unaccompanied, to hand pick jewelry
and other items for her stores. The successes of these businesses moti-
vated Clara to expand her pursuits and
enter, successfully, the real estate -i
Clara demonstrated a deep sense of caring and sharing. She
provided part-time employment for many teenagers at the stores
while using those opportunities to impart not only her business skills, but
also good character development along with community spirit. Some of
these teenagers included John Marcel Olive, Yvonne E.L. Thraen, Ph.D.
and the late Gene Cerge. Clara's influence is further attested to by the
business ventures established and maintained by her family.
Clara was a founding member of the Gypsy Carnival Troupe in 1952
and was active for many years, contributing freely of her time and design-
ing talents to Carnival activities in addition to those of the Gypsy Troupe.
Members of the community often requested her assistance in making
West Indian head ties. She was especially proud of making the St. Lucian
head tie. These contacts frequently afforded opportunities for her to
converse in French, including the patois dialect in which she was versed.
While Clara was a most successful businesswoman, she was first and
foremost a loving wife and mother. Her daughter, son-in-law, grandchil-
dren and great-grandchildren brought her extreme joy. She nurtured
them, was affectionate to them and gave them unconditional love, and
they reciprocated. Clara was also kind and loving with her other relatives
and friends and she was an avid gardener who enjoyed experimenting
with exotic plants. She also
In 1982, Clara was diag-
nosed with emphysema and,
subsequently, suffered a num-
ber of medical setbacks, in-
cluding colon cancer.
Throughout her years of de-
teriorating health, she never
allowed her illness to domi-
nate her spirit. Her faith in
God enabled her to perseVere.
She was always pleasant,
maintained her sense of hu-
mor and kept abreast of the
social and political issues to
the end. On the morning of
November 11th, Clara de-
parted this world.
"A gracious woman
Pro bs 11:16
DAUGHTER... Mari Charlene O'Neal Henderson
SON-IN-LAW... Norman O'Neal Henderson
GRANDCHILDREN... James Eric O'Neal Henderson,
Erika Leanne Henderson, Ehren O'Neal Henderson
GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN ... Omar O'Neal Henderson,
Noah O'Neal Henderson
MOTHER OF GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN ... Simone L Letang
SISTER... Iris M. Thompson
SISTERS-IN-LAW ... Audrey U. Monsanto, Viola O'Neal Mason
NIECES... Genevieve E. Lima, Winifred M. Morch,
Clarice J. Joseph, Edith Rose Galiber, Tracy N. Ortiz,
Lisa -Marie C. Monsanto
NEPHEWS... Warren G. Lewis, Wilbur G. Lewis,
William G. Lewis, Gregory W. Lewis, Didace S. Monsanto, M.D.,
Robert N. Thompson, Christopher W. Thompson, Ph.D.
Many Other Relatives and Close Friends
SPECIAL FRIEND ... Enid K. Hodge
SPECIAL COUSIN ... Naomi M. Vessup
SPECIAL RELATIVES... Maria D. Lewis, Marjorie Lewis
Norman O'Neal Henderson, James Eric O'Neal Henderson,
Ehren O'Neal Henderson, Joseph Shelley Moorhead,
Kevin A. Lewis, John O'Neal Henderson
John S. Moorhead, M.D., Alfred O. Health, M.D., Wilbur G. Lewis,
William G. Lewis, Austin A. Monsanto, Clive E.C. Banfield,
David D. Chinnery, Andre A. Galiber, M.D., James O'Neal Henderson,
Christopher W. Thompson, Ph.D., Robert N. Thompson,
Malcom Walters O'Neill, Derek M. Hodge, Esq., Pedrito E. Francois
Celebrant ... The Most Reverend Elliott G. Thomas, D.D.
Deacon ... Leonard M. Monsanto
Deacon ... Frank Veraart
Ira Meyers and Emile "Milo" Francis
BLESSING OF THE BODY
ENTRANCE HYMN .................. To God Be The Glory # 232
GREETING AND OPENING PRAYER
FIRST READING : Wis. 3:1-9 .......... Lisa-Marie C. Monsanto, Esq.
RESPONSORIAL Psalm 23 ........................ Tracy N. Ortiz
SECOND READING: Rom. 6:3-9 ................ Clarice J. Joseph
HOLY GOSPEL ........................ Deacon Frank Veraart
HOMILY .............. The Most Reverend Elliott G. Thomas, D.D.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
OFFERTORY HYMN ................... Blessed Assurance # 107
GIFT BEARERS ........................... Edith Rose Galiber,
Yvonne E.L Thraen, Ph.D., Maria D. Lewis
SIGN OF PEACE ..................... Prayer Of St. Francis, # 284
COMMUNION HYMN ........ Just A Closer Walk With Thee, # 417
SOLO: I Love You Lord ........................... Faye Moon
POST COMMUNION PRAYER
EULOGY ............................... Derek M. Hodge, Esq.
FINAL COMMENDATION AND FAREWELL
RECESSIONAL HYMN ................... The Strife Is O'er # 513
Organist... Faye Moon
Floral Arrangements ... Silk Greenery
Preparation of Grave Site... Gene Dragin
Michele M. Lewis, Trevore T. Monsanto,
Stephanie Scott Williams, Gary S. Joseph
Q& le P-.,& &
Granny... thank you for everything you have given us in thought and
words. You held us together through good times and bad. You are my
hero, my friend, and my teacher.
As a young girl growing up I remember always wanting to be like you.
In my eyes you were one of the most beautiful women inside and out. You
had a talent of knowing things that would happen before they actually did.
I remember questioning your judgement and then later realizing you were
right all along. After time, I stopped questioning your advice because you
were always right sooner or later. You have taught me so much, especially
the importance of family, love, strength, and togetherness. You have also
left me with faith. You taught me to always have faith in God because He
will take care of you.
At this time I have faith that God will take away the pain I have in my
heart from your departure and replace it with happiness of our memories.
Granny, you were so strong, loving and full of spunk. You always had a
joke or a story to give. You were our backbone and our strength. Now it is
time for us to hold ourselves up by remembering everything you have
taught us. Before you left us I expressed my love to you but I never got a
chance to express my admiration. Granny, you are my hero and your
memory will never be forgotten. Words can not express my love and
gratitude to you. I feel your presence even though you are gone and pray
that one day I will see you again in God's holy land. I love you Granny.
Loving You Always, Erika
Dear Granny... Granny there were
many times we shared together.
Happy times, sad times and times you
said that I needed a good beating.
Granny, I remember all of what you
said to me. You gave me lots of good
advice. I will miss you, but I know
you will be happy in God's Kingdom.
Rest in peace Grannyll I
Love always, Ehren O
Granny ... You are my rock, my foundation and the corner-
stone of my life. With love and by example you have molded by
very existence. You taught me, not with harsh wprds, embarrassment, or
threats but with first hand experience, basic logic and your keen under-
standing of the human spirit.
Over 5 am cups of Ovaltine, the world opened up to me. I learned that
your history was mine as well. You were the gatekeeper to a part of me
that time tries to steal, my roots. Stories of your childhood, our family, as
well as adventures in your journey through life gave me my sense of
identity. These stories made me proud to be your grandson and anxious
to make my life's story a worthy continuation.
Granny, more than anyone you have shown me the world, both past
and present, for what it really is and should be. Through your wisdom
and love you have helped me to define my place in it. By your example you
have reassured me that truth, love, loyalty, self respect, and most of all
family, are not merely words but the tools we use to live our lives.
Thank you Granny for all the
lessons, your love, and my life. I
will love and cherish you always.
Your grandson Eric
Beloved Aunt ... In our life-
time we strive to make a differ-
ence, walk with God, attain wis-
dom, nurture loved ones, laugh
during the good times, cry during
the bad, see the beauty in the
world, love and be loved. When
we have attained these, we sparkle,
we are valuable, we show perfect
clarity ... in short, we are a dia-
Aunt Clara exemplified all of
these traits and more. She was an
astute businesswoman before busi-
nesswomen were the norm. She
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her presence. Through the years of knowing her, we found her to be a
loving, giving person with a heart of gold, strong in her convictions and an
inspirational mentor to our family.
Aunt Clara was compassionate and kind, a loving aunt. We will miss
her vibrant personality. She showed great spirit during her illness when
she enthusiastically accepted a more nutritional life-style. We will cherish
the loving relationship we shared.
My family and 1 will continue to keep her in our hearts and we are
grateful that we had the honor of knowing her. Rest peacefully until we
The Lewis's ... Wilbur, Maria, Lorene, Kevin, Sheri and Mia
I have known you, Clara, for the past forty- five years. You and Eric
opened your hearts and home to me when I arrived in St. Thomas in 1952.
You taught me to drive in your Volkswagen and little did I realize that you
did not have a driver's license at that time.
Years later, you were there for the swearing-in ceremonies at the
District Court when I became a U.S. citizen. You were always beautiful
inside, as you were outside ... generous, fun loving, full of life, and a true
veteran in your own right.
You dealt with your illness as you confronted everything else in life,
with courage, humor, grace and steadfastness of purpose. You focused on
the good in people's hearts.
That you left us on Veterans Day was no coincidence. Your great
strength of character will be an inspiration to all who have had the
privilege of knowing you. May you rest in peace.
Affectionately, Clive E.C. Banfield
Granny ... You were truly a rare flower that blossomed no matter how
difficult it got in the end. You were unique, special and a true queen. You
always seemed to know exactly when to call to give me a good joke. When
I think of you I feel sad knowing that you are gone but wherever you are I
know you are happy and at peace.
The family was the center of your universe and your lectures
O .. 16
'" and advice will never be forgotten. You will truly be missed.
Thanks for being a dear granny to my sons and your legend will
continue to live through them. Rest in peace.
I love you, Simone Letang
Both of them, Eric and Clara, were very dear to me on my venture to
success, via St. Thomas. Clara was really a true beauty and a kind heart;
she inspired the painting I did of her. What a great lady God bless her.
Geoffrey Holder, New York
A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman ... who can find her? She
is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.
The heart of her household trusts in her confidently and relies on and
believes in her securely, so that there is no lack of [honest] gain or need of
She comforts, encourages, and does them only as long as there is life
She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands.
She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her
household's food from afar [Country].
She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her house-
hold and assigns her maids their tasks.
She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding
prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming
other duties]; with her savings (of time and strength] she plants fruitful
vines in her yard.
She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness
for her God-given task] and makes her aims strong and firm.
She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good:
her lamp goes not out but it burns on continually through the night [of
trouble, privation or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt and distrust].
She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to
the needy [whether in body, mind or spirit].
She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her
clothing is of linen, pure and fine and of purple [such as the priests and
hollowed cloths of the temple were made].
Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong asu
secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come,
knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!
She opens her mouth in skillful and godly wisdom, and on her tongue
is the law of kindness [giving counsel] and instruction.
She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of
idleness [gossip, discontent and self- pity] she will not eat.
Her children rise up and call her blessed [happy, fortunate, and to be
envied]; they boast of and praise her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength
of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you Clara O'Neal excel
Sleep on in peace, Rixie and family, Maureen C. Smith,
John R. Joseph. Jonathan B. Joseph, Craig B. Joseph,
Derek B. Joseph, Gary S. Joseph, Davon Smith
Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways.
You, Clara, have eaten the fruit of your labor. Blessings and prosperity are
totally yours now. You have been a fruitful vine within your house.
Memories I've had with her in Great Neck, Long Island still linger. Our
talks on the telephone sharing our daily lives were most gratifying. Sleep
on dear Aunt Clara and rest in peace.
Mariano and Genie, (paraphrased Psalm 128)
In death, there is grief but there is solace that Clara has gone to a
greater life with her Creator. I am fortunate to have known Clara since
childhood and have enjoyed her kindness, support and love throughout
the years. While I will miss her sorely, the many cherished memories of
her, particularly the twinkle in her eyes and her smile, will be ever present.
Rest in eternal peace until we meet again.
Yvonne E.L. Thraen, Ph.D.
Clara Monsanto O'Neal, to know her was to love her. She was special
to us. To engage in conversation with her by the store, by telephone or a
visit to her home was an experience. Clara loved chatting. She had very
strong opinions and feelings on family matters and on current
events. These conversations were long and spirited. Then, at
the end of the discussion, Clara would give one of her outrageous but true
comments that reduced both of us to a good laugh.
Clara's sense of humor, her quick wit and her understanding of the
human condition attracted many young people to her circle of friends.
We enjoyed and appreciated the times spent in her company and we
thank God that even to the end of her days on this earth shi was able to
make us laugh.
Aida, Babe and the children
To the Family of Mary Clara ... Thank you from the bottom of my
heart for the privilege of bringing Jesus to "Granny". While it was only a
few months, I feel I have known her for years. Her witty comments and
zeal for life were only exceeded by a deep faith in Jesus.
Suffering much in the end, she was surrounded by a loving family. I will
always be grateful; her life has made mine richer. May she rest in peace.
It is with great sadness that I write to express condolences to the family
and friends of Mary Clara Monsanto O'Neal. Mrs. Monsanto O'Neal was
involved in many community activities and was well known throughout
the Virgin Islands community. She has touched the lives of many through
her outgoing personality, and will fondly remembered. On behalf of my
wife, entire staff and myself, I extend deepest condolences and pray that
her soul may rest in peace.
Senator-At-Large Almando "Rocky" Liburd
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