Clara Ethel Downing Rittenhouse passed away at the age of 81 surrounded by her family and close friends at Haven Hospice in Chiefland, Florida, on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021. Clara was born on April 28, 1939, in Gilchrist County, Florida. Her parents were Geanie Mae (Horne) and Thomas M. Downing. Clara married Paul J. Rittenhouse, Jr. on December 27, 1956.
She is survived by her husband, Paul; a daughter, Pamela of St. Johns, Florida; a son, Thomas of Trenton, Florida; sisters Annette Walker and Linda Anello of St. Petersburg; grandchildren Ryan Burnette and Tyler Burnette of Atlanta and Jacksonville; great grandsons Conrad, Persy and Kepler; and by her companion, Nakidra Cook.
A member of the Church of Christ, Clara was a faithful Christian all of her life. She resided in Trenton for the past 11 years. Prior to that, Clara and her family made their home in Fanning Springs. Clara was a longtime federal employee until her retirement in October of 1994. She loved working in her garden, and she treasured teaching children in Sunday School at her church. After training and long practice, Clara became expert in the sugar art of cake decorating, creating beautiful cakes for occasions such as birthdays and weddings. Clara also enjoyed working with fabric, sewing beautiful clothing, making lovely quilts, embroidery and crochet work. Her love of vintage clothing led her to model at area fashion events, something she enjoyed tremendously. Clara became known by the nickname her grandchildren gave her -- ‘Gabby.’ Gabby Clara was a strong, kind, loving woman who will be remembered and missed by her family always and forever.
Funeral services to honor Clara will be held at Watson Funeral Home Chapel on Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 11:00 A.M. The family will receive friends one hour prior at 10:00 A.M. at the funeral home. Interment to follow at Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in Trenton, FL. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Haven Hospice in Chiefland or the Alzheimer’s Association.
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