Mary Magdaline Smith LaClaire, 91, formerly of Black River, died Sunday, June 15, 2014 at her residence in Hendersonville, NC. She was born August 21, 1922 in Canada, KY, to the late French Smith and Charlotte Elizabeth Hankins Smith. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John Willard LaClaire in 1975; two brothers, James and Robert Smith; and three sisters, Hattie Elmo Tuttle, Helen Vargo, and Sarah Ann Hensley.
Mrs. LaClaire graduated from Lenore High school in WV as valedictorian. She attended Marshall College (now Marshall University) in Huntington, WV, where she received a teaching certificate in 1942. She worked in the cryptanalysis unit of the FBI during World War II and held several secretarial positions over the years, including seventeen years as a guidance department secretary at Carthage Central High School from 1960 to 1977. Prior to living in Hendersonville, she lived in Fairfax, VA. While living in Fairfax, she wrote seven specialty cookbooks.
She is survived by her daughter, Bonnie L. Worcester and her husband Robin of Lake Lure, NC; three sons, John W. LaClaire II and his wife Julie of Austin, TX; Richard A. LaClaire and his wife Donna of Melbourne Beach, FL; and David P. LaClaire and his wife Linda of Hamburg, NY; four grandchildren, Sean Worcester, Susan LaClaire, Thomas LaClaire, and John-David LaClaire; two sisters, Wynema Pentland of Utica, NY and Analee Maeland of Huntington, WV; and twenty-six nieces and nephews.
Family members will hold calling hours at Bruce Funeral Home, 131 Maple Street, Black River, on Saturday, August 23 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. This will be followed by a procession to Black River Cemetery, where her ashes will be interred.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to Lake Pointe Landing Employee Appreciation Fund, 334 Thompson Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792 or Four Seasons Hospice, 571 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731.