Mary Clara (Lawrence) Beleardis Passes Away

NEWPORT - Mary Clara Beleardis, 94, of Bellevue Ave, Newport, formerly 1 Heath Street and 19 Chapel Street, Newport, died Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at Heatherwood Nursing And Subacute Center Newport, RI.

She was the wife of the late John Beleardis.

Born in St. Miguel, Azores, on August 12, 1910, she was the daughter of the late Manuel and Amelia (Machado) Lawrence.

Mrs. Beleardis, known as Clara, was a seamstress with various tailor shops in the Newport area. In 1930 she moved to Newport seeking medical help for a back injury. Through grace, she found a job as a nanny, taking care of five young children who had recently lost their mother. Later during this depression era Clara's employment obligations ceased but out of love she decided to stay on and raise the children who grew up to have families of their own. Her love continued through generations and today she leaves grandchildren and great-grandchildren who affectionately refer to her as VoVo. The children, now all deceased were Lawrence Gouveia, Jerry Gouveia, Alice Gouveia Baird, Cecilia Gouveia Champion, and Amelia Gouveia Sullivan.

Mrs. Beleardis converted to the Greek Orthodox faith in 1965, and remained a member of St. Spyridon´s Greek Orthodox Church. Clara was also a member of the church's Philoptochos Society and Daughters of Penelope.

She is survived by her nephews George Lawrence and Denis Lawrence both of New Bedford, MA, Antone Lawrence, Jr. of Little Compton, RI, Philip Lawrence of Westport, MA, and Manuel Lawrence of New Hampshire, and many great-nieces and nephews.

With the help of the Newport VNS and Heatherwood Nursing Staffs she was cared for by her nephew Antone and his wife Mary, as well as her granddaughter Terrie Champion-Welford of Newport and her great grandchildren Patrick and Meaghan Welford and Kori Champion. She was preceded in death by her brothers Antone, Sr. and Manuel Lawrence and a sister Virginia Medeiros.

Her funeral will be held on Friday, March 18, 2005, at 12:00 noon in St. Spyridon's Greek Orthodox Church, 390 Thames Street, Newport. Burial will be in Newport Memorial Park in Middletown.

Arrangements are by Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway Newport, RI 02840. Donations may be made to the Heatherwood Nursing Home Activity Fund, 398 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840 or to the Daughters of Penelope, c/o St. Spyridon's Church, 390 Spring Street, Newport, RI 02840.

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