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Clara Louise Davenport Behr

Clara Louise Davenport Behr died peacefully at Belmont Gardens in Vicksburg on April 28, 2020. She was 99 years old. Mrs. Behr suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for 20 years. Because of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, a private graveside service for immediate family was held on April 30, 2020 at Cedar Hill Cemetery and officiated by Rev. Michael Herrin of Port Gibson.  

Clara was born in Port Gibson on April 15, 1921. Her parents were Joseph Davenport and Louise Hughes Watkins. She was a descendent of some of the earliest and most prominent families of Claiborne and Newton counties including the Cranes, Brashears, Bertrons, Davenports, Dardens, Burnetts, Jefferies, Hughes, Williams and Watkins.

She graduated from Port Gibson High School in 1938, from Hinds Junior College in 1940, and from Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) in 1942. While a student, she co-wrote the alma mater of MSC. Later, she did graduate work there.

Mrs. Behr taught 5th grade in Port Gibson and at Bowmar Elementary. She taught public school music at Oak Ridge and Redwood for 32 years. She also taught piano lessons in her private home studio. For several years she was a volunteer piano teacher at the Vicksburg Senior Citizens’ Center.

She enjoyed sewing, cooking; studying English grammar; playing bridge; following the stock market; writing poems, children’s stories, and songs such as The Mississippi Song; studying genealogy; growing Gloriosa lilies and supporting the arts. She was an avid “Royal Watcher” and was known for her striking resemblance to Wallace Simpson when she was young. She had a delightful, quirky, positive outlook on life that she expressed in hilarious ways known by her family as “Clarafications.”

She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Brigadier General Evan Shelby), Magna Charta Dames (Governor Giles Brent), Colonial Dames of XVIIth Century (Colonel John Reading), First Families of Mississippi (James Davenport), Southern Dames of America (Benjamin Hughes), Magnolia Garden Club, Amici Friends of Opera, and Vicksburg Music Teachers Association.

She was a devoted Christian and was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Vicksburg since 1952. She was the pianist in Sunday School classes and held several other leadership positions.

Clara had a selfless love for people of all ages. She was a supportive and caring daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, niece, cousin, aunt, teacher and friend. She was greatly loved by many.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her beloved husband of 30 years, Iley Fant Behr Jr. who died in 1982, and her brother, Joseph Davenport Jr., who died in 2000.

She is survived by Dr. Clarissa Louise Behr Davis (Dr. Michael Lee Davis) of Vicksburg and Iley Fant Behr III (Wendy Jacoby Behr) of Nashville, Tenn.; four grandchildren, Evana Christie Davis Bock (Charles Otto Bock) of Clinton, Eleana Michele Davis of Vicksburg, and Emily Rose Behr and Isabel Louise Behr of Nashville, Tenn.; great-granddaughters, Joanna Claiborne Bock and Susanna Louise Bock of Clinton; nephews, Dr. Joseph Davenport III (Dr. Judith) of Phoenix, Ariz., Tom Sayre Davenport (Glinda) of Madison, Sim Sayre Davenport (Sally) of Owensboro, Ky., Dr. Lee Hammon (Robin) of Longview, Wash., and nieces, JoLee McDuff Ming of Vicksburg and Harriet Behr Westra (Herlan) of Huntsville, Ala.

The family expresses much gratitude to Dr. Walter Johnston and Dr. Martin Chaney. Special thanks are also extended to Dr. Daniel Edney and his extraordinary staff at Belmont Gardens. The innumerable acts of loving care by Martha Conner, Ida Johnson, Tamiko Mack and Karie Lynch, R.N. deserve particular mention.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1501 Cherry, Vicksburg, MS 39180 or a charity of choice.