formerly of Cranston, died on Friday, April 2nd. She was the daughter of the late Raymond P. and Irene A. (Martellucci) Lamore. Clara was the sister of the late Raymond F. Lamore, Sr. and wife of the late Captain Donald P. Walker, USN. Clara is survived by her nephews, Raymond (Lisa) Lamore of Warwick, RI, Paul (Lynn) Lamore of Mountain Top, PA and her niece Stephanie (Michael) Kent of Ellington, CT.
Born and raised in Providence, Clara was an honors student at Central High School. As a youngster she joined the Olneyville Boys Club Swim Team. Under the guidance of Coach Joe Watmough, she became a swimming powerhouse. During the 1940’s she was a Rhode Island Athlete of the Year and a two-time New England Athlete of the Year. Clara was also an A.A.U. National Champion and a five-time All American. Her swimming career culminated in being selected as a member of the 1948 Olympic Team.
After participating in the Olympics, Clara returned to Providence where she worked for the New England Telephone Company. Clara then became a cloistered nun in the Religious Order of the Cenacle. She left the convent, as she jokingly explained, “Due to a lack of decorum.” For example, during family visits her brother Raymond gave her candy bars, which she hid in her habit. As a nun in a cloistered order, this was strictly forbidden.
In 1964 Clara was one of the first two women to graduate from Providence College. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy. It was during this time that she met her husband Don. During his naval career, Don and Clara lived in Long Beach, CA, Washington, DC, Dayton, OH, Japan and Naples, Italy. While Don served in the Vietnam War, Clara traveled throughout the world, by herself, for 18 months.
While living in Naples in 1970, Don passed away unexpectedly. Clara returned to Rhode Island and settled in Cranston. She became an English teacher at Cranston West High School and then a guidance counselor at Western Hills Middle School.
During her teaching career Clara returned to Providence College where she earned Master’s Degrees in Counseling and School Administration.
After a 32 year hiatus from swimming, Clara returned to the pool in order to soothe a sore back. She went on to set 484 Masters National Records and 184 Masters World Records. For these accomplishments Clara was the first Masters Swimmer to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1995.
Clara was also inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, the Italo-American Hall of Fame and the Rhode Island Aquatics Hall of Fame.
Following her retirement Clara became a residence hall director at Providence College. Clara enjoyed serving as a volunteer at the Rhode Island Red Cross and Catholics for Life. She was a Eucharistic Minister at Rhode Island Hospital, taught religious education and was a lector at the Immaculate Conception Church in Cranston. Clara was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic.
Clara loved God, her church, family, friends and former students.
Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, April 8th, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the NARDOLILLO FUNERAL HOME & Crematory, 1278 Park Ave, Cranston. Her Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, April 9th, at 10:00 a.m. in Immaculate Conception Church, Cranston. Burial will take place in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105
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