Clara B. 'Lightening Bird' Arnum, wife of the late Gordon A. Arnum, Sr. died on Thursday, August 9, 2012 at home with her loving family at her side. She was born in Meriden, CT on November 13, 1920. She was the daughter of her predeceased parents Harriet Sharper Bolden and Harry Bolden. She was a longtime resident of the town of Meriden, CT and attended local schools ultimately graduating from the Meriden High School. She worked for a number of years for New Departure Manufacturing Company in Meriden, CT and then went on to nursing school to ultimately work for thirty years at the Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown, CT as a certified Registered Nurse. Clara, during her child years, traveled with her parents who were 'Vaudeville' entertainers and was introduced to the likes of 'Bo Jangles', and Paul Robeson to name a few during her travel opportunities with her parents. Through her adult life she was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Police group. She was active in the Women's Softball League in Meriden, CT, and was involved with various theater performances put on in the town of Meriden. She loved to 'Tap Dance' and perform 'Modern Jazz' routines with the various dance schools in both Meriden and Wallingford. She was active with the Boys Scout troop with her son Harry and later in the years she served as the active nurse for the Golden Crusader Drum and Bugle Corp of Southington, CT with her sons Harry and Gordon and later with the Emerald Cadets Drum and Bugle Corp of New Haven, CT with her son Gordon. She was known as 'Ma' in both drum and bugle corps by various members. Being of Native American (Pequot/Nehantic/Wangunk) and African American blood, she was a member of the 'Split Feather Indian Council' and volunteered work for the 'American Indians For Development' agency of Connecticut. She attended many powwows and ceremonial gatherings throughout her life. She was very active in her church St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Meriden, CT, serving on the 'Episcopal Church Women' united group and sang in her church choir that she loved so much. She was an avid volunteer for the local 'Soup Kitchen' in Meriden, CT. She was a loving mother of two sons, Harry R. Bolden along with his wife Joan Crebase Bolden and Gordon A. Arnum, Jr. She has two biological grandchildren, Darius Bolden and his wife Lorie Bolden and their children Tyler, Mya, Amanda and two great-great grandsons Alex and Kristopher and Desiree Lebeau and husband Hector Lebeau and their children, Kiana, Shealani, Miliani Lebeau plus several nieces and nephews and a host of adopted grandchildren and great-grandchildren that loved her so much. She was known to all her grandchildren as 'Gram, Grammy, or Grandma. She has two Native American adopted daughters, Vicky Welch Green and her husband Ray Green and Norma Thorpe and her husband George Thorpe. She also has two very close friends that she considered her sisters, Patricia Mischke of Meriden, and the late Gloria Fredericks Gavette. Both have children that consider Clara their aunt or called her their other mom. She also has an adopted grandson, Rory Broe of Norwich, CT (formerly of Meriden, CT). Family will gather at Beecher & Bennett Flatow Funeral Home, 48 Cook Ave, Meriden, CT Wednesday, August 15, 2012 from 9:30 to 10:30 AM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Meriden, CT at 11:00 AM. Burial will be at Walnut Grove immediately after the church service. Friends may call at the funeral home on Tuesday, August 14th from 3:00 to 5:00 PM and 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Contributions in her memory can be made to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 20 Catlin St, Meriden, CT 06450.

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  1. To our dear friend,mentor,and loving special grandmother to our children,you are home now and we who new you and loved you will cherish the time we had with you. You will always be in our hearts! To your family Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all and her love will carry us all in the years to come! Love and prayers- Bob & Marilyn

  2. Gordon I would like to offer you and your family my sincere condolences. May you find peace in celebrating your mothers life and honoring her at her death.

  3. I am saddened to hear that the prophetic and loving voice of Clara will no longer be heard on this earth. To say she was very special to me, would not even come close to coveying my admiration and love for her. I will always hold in my heart her wise, loving and supportive words. I cherish the ‘spirit’ she leaves with us.

  4. Dear Joan and Harry, Our thoughts and prayers go out to you all. It’s so hard to say goodbye. We hope you can find comfort in knowing that your mom is at peace and whole again. Love, Kevin and Kathie

  5. Harry, Joan, & family, May you find peace in remembering you will always have your Mom in your heart. My deepest sympathy to all of you. With Love, Sandy Olson

  6. Ma Arnum as she was called by many…… has smiled – has scolded – Has given Pride – Love – and called everyone her child. I have Precious Memories of Ma to last me my lifetime until we meet again…you now sit among the Angels watching us from above, God holds you now in the Palm of his hand and will comfort you infinity. Your Memories will always be my Loving Treasures of Love to keep deep within my Heart and soul…May you Rest in Peace Ma

  7. To Harry, Gordon and Families, Last week, I was speaking to a friend and up popped your Mom’s face. I told her all about Ma, my .little brother Gordon. and the days of blowing up outhouses with the Corps. Whew! That’s going back a few, huh? I am taken back by coming across her name in the paper. She lived a full, loud, loving and wonderful life! She taught me about spirit. She looked at me no different than other kids, even though I was -and that was okay. Eons later, she still is first and foremost on my top ten. So,to my Ma, a million hugs, a lot of laughs and above all…my love. You and your boys are still in my heart. Sleep well, Ma xxoo

  8. It’s been many years since I’ve seen Clara, but I sang in the St. Andrew’s Choir for a few years as a soprano and did get to know Clara quite well. She always just .knew. things. She also watched my daughter when she did daycare at the Church. She loved my little Bonnie so. Bonnie is 19 now. Clara was definitely an inspiration to a lot of people and will be missed. My condolonces to the family. May she forever rest in peace.

  9. Please know that you are all in our hearts and prayers at this sad time. We hold you close and remember…

  10. Will very much miss her at the pow-wows, she was very much loved by all who met her. Creator takes the best ones home first.

  11. Dearest Gordon, Harry and Family, I send my condolences to you all in the loss of your mother. I can only remember meeting her a couple of times years ago, but loosing a loved one is very hard. May the memories, joy and comfort that you all shared stay in your hearts always. My prayers, sympathy and condolences are with you all.

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