November 13, 1920 ~ August 9, 2012
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.