The lovely Anna Claire Beazley Henderson, 97, passed away on the 8th July 2013, with her daughters by her side.
Anna Claire was born in San Angelo, Texas, on the 25th of April 1916, to Luther Branham Beazley and Willie V. Conger Beazley. She was the eldest of three girls, and dearly loved her younger sisters, Gibbs Crook of Corpus Christi and Patsy Small of Ft. Worth, both of whom predeceased her. Anna Claire graduated from San Angelo High School and attended CIA (now Texas Women's University) where she studied art for two years before transferring to The University of Texas where she studied French for two years. At the university, Anna Claire was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. In 1939, Anna Claire went to work as a window decorator at the famous Neiman Marcus store in Dallas. It was a thrilling experience that she loved to talk about. While in Dallas, Anna Claire fell in love with a handsome young attorney, Richard Henderson. They were married on the 24th of February 1941, and a few months later, Anna Claire reluctantly left her job at Neimans.
During the war, Anna Claire and Richard lived in Seattle, Washington, where Richard served as an officer in the United States Navy. In 1945, the couple moved to Victoria, Texas, where Richard practiced law and Anna Claire devoted herself to Richard and their two daughters, many volunteer activities and her passion-art. Over the years, Anna Claire served as President of the Junior Service League and the Victoria Art League, and was on the boards of the Salvation Army, Child Welfare, and American Field Service (the foreign exchange student program). Anna Claire was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church. Among other activities, she served as an Elder and a member of the Building Committee. In 1988, in honor of her service, Anna Claire was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the Presbyterian Women of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Anna Claire used her artistic skills to help raise money for the local hospice organization. She painted sets for the Junior Service League balls, applied makeup for the Lions Club musicals and the Student Summer Playhouse, and won prizes at the Victoria Country Club's costume parties. Families sought out Anna Claire because she did such exquisite pastel portraits of children. Over the years, Anna Claire's artwork has graced the walls of many Victoria homes.
Her beloved Richard passed away in 1995, and six years later, Anna Claire moved to The Hallmark, a retirement community in Houston, to be near her daughters. Anna Claire loved everything about her life at The Hallmark. She arranged flowers, played bridge, performed in plays, modeled in style shows, worked on the scrapbook, played "chicken foot", attended the ballet, dressed up for Halloween, decorated the Christmas tree, toured museums, attended Rice University lectures, and volunteered in the health care area. Her most important contribution was to identify and organize all of the resident artists and exhibit their work at Weekend Art Shows. She and the artists were rewarded with a workspace of their own with good North light on the 7th floor. Most importantly, at The Hallmark, Anna Claire found many new and wonderful friends who made her last 11+ years on this earth a joy!
Anna Claire will be remembered for her optimism, industriousness, kindness and grace, and none will forget the unconditional love she gave to all. She was magic!
Anna Claire was predeceased by her parents, her two sisters and their husbands, and a nephew. She is survived by daughter, Suzanne Kerr and husband David of Houston; daughter Claire Ankenman and husband Doug of Houston; granddaughter Katy Ankenman of Seattle, Washington; grandson Douglas Ankenman of Houston; and nephews, Terry, John and Stephen Small of Ft. Worth.
The family would like to thank the staff of The Hallmark for providing a safe, secure and vibrant environment for Anna Claire over the past eleven years. We offer special thanks to Dr. Kurt P. Merkelz, geriatric specialist, and Ms. Trish Grueneberg, Director of Nursing, and her fine staff, who made Mother's final months remarkably healthy and even joyful.
A memorial service in Houston for Anna Claire is to be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Friday, the 12th of July, in the Community Room of The Hallmark, 4718 Hallmark Drive in Houston, where The Reverend Dr. Bill Heston, Executive Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Houston will officiate. Immediately following all are invited to greet the family in a reception in the Hallmark Lounge opposite the Dining Room.
A private graveside service in Victoria under the direction of the Colonial Funeral Home, is to be conducted on Saturday the 13th of July, where the Reverend Kathryn J. Morton, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Victoria will officiate. Anna Claire will be laid to rest alongside her Richard.
The family cordially invites all their friends in Victoria to a memorial luncheon for Anna Claire on Saturday the 13th of July at twelve o'clock noon in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church of Victoria, 2408 N. Navarro St. in Victoria.
In lieu of customary remembrances, please consider memorial contributions to the First Presbyterian Church of Houston's permanent Endowment Fund, 5300 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77004, or The Hallmark's Residents Assistance Fund, Business Office, 4718 Hallmark Drive, Houston, Texas 77056.