One of Newnan's oldest residents, Clara Coleman Bates, 105, passes
From Staff Reports
Newnan resident Clara Coleman Bates died Wednesday at the age of 105 at Piedmont Fayette Hospital.
She was honored in 2011 when the Coweta County Board of Commissioners proclaimed her 104th birthday as “Miss Clara Day” in Coweta County.
Bates and approximately 25 members of her extended family were on hand to accept the proclamation at the county commission meeting in May 2011. Commission Chairman Rodney Brooks read the proclamation, which said, in part, that Bates was the oldest daughter of 12 children born to Idella Coleman. She married Frank Bates, who proceeded her in death, and they had four daughters: Rubye Coleman Lynch, Sara T. Grier, Frankie Coleman Whitaker and Leila Coleman Bates.
“Miss” Clara has 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren.
She is the longest-living female member of Zion Hill Baptist Church, where she was a member all her life.
“Miss Clara has lived her entire life as a devoted Christian and true believer in our Savior Jesus Christ,” Brooks said. “She attributes God’s love and mercy with all the blessings she has received during her life.”
Bates spent many years as the housekeeper to Duke and Julia Blackburn, “being a true center of influence and being so instrumental in giving Christian guidance and love in the upbringing of their three sons, Duke, Bryan and Bob,” Brooks said. “Her influence and their strong mutual love for each other stands strong to this day.”
“Whereas, affectionately known as ‘Mother’ to all, she is truly the perfect example of the intent God had for a mother in this world. She is loved by all who know her,” Brooks said, reading the proclamation.
“I would just like to say —awesome,” Brooks said after completing the proclamation. “Thank you for being a Coweta County resident... and an asset to this community.”
“Thank you all,” said Bates.
Bates’ daughter, Sarah Grier, said that the proclamation was Commissioner Bob Blackburn’s idea.
“The Blackburn boys have always been instrumental with my mom, they have never forgotten my mom,” she said. Bob Blackburn is “in and out of this house pretty regularly,” she said.
“She thinks the world of them all. She just thinks the world of Bob,” Grier said. “He always attributes a lot of his good doings of her well teaching. She taught her children well and she taught them well, too,” she said.
“I thought it was just beautiful,” Grier said of the proclamation and presentation at the commission meeting. “We couldn’t have enjoyed anything better,” she said. And she was a little overwhelmed to see how many family members came to the meeting, many of whom live in Atlanta.
Newnan Mayor Keith Brady also executed a proclamation for Miss Clara Day.
To be nearly 104 at the time of the proclamation honors, Bates was still quite spry. Blackburn was quick to point out that, when leaving the commission chambers, she took the stairs, not the elevator.
“We have been richly blessed with her,” Grier said.
Bates was born May 20, 1908, to Idella Coleman of 70 Pinson St. in Newnan, according to information published about her 100th birthday in The Newnan Times-Herald. She was a mother and grandmother and had four daughters. She was “the matriarch of a family that has five generations of beautiful women, three times over,” it was noted.
Sellers-Smith Funeral Home Inc. in Newnan is handling arrangements.