Welcome to the
memorial page for
Clara Elizabeth Gaylord
August 24, 1918
~ August 12, 2018
Long Branch, NJ 07740
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Clara Elizabeth Gaylord joined her beloved husband, Milton Gaylord, in their heavenly home on August 12, 2018, completing a journey in service to God and family that ended just shy of 100 years.
Named "Clarsy" by her parents Lola Acker and James Brownlee, Clara was born August 24, 1918, in Belton, South Carolina. When the family migrated to New Jersey, Clara and her siblings Milton ("Mitt"), Bertha ("Bert"), and Peggy attended a one room schoolhouse in the area of Phalanx Road and Route 537 in Colts Neck. Clara later studied "beauty culture" at the prestigious Bordentown School. Officially titled the Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth, this publicly financed co-ed boarding school for African American youth, was considered the "Tuskegee of the North."
Following graduation from Bordentown, Clara relocated to Summit, New Jersey to apprentice in a beauty shop. There she met World War II veteran Milton Gaylord at a USO dance. The couple married and settled in Red Bank, New Jersey, where their children Renee, Milton, and Carla were reared with "Granny" (Clara's mother Lola) living in the house next door.
Off and on, Clara worked as a domestic, and her children grew up with stories and memories of the Maimone and D'Apolito families in Little Silver. Eventually, Milton, a construction worker, added a beauty parlor onto the house at 209 Pearl Street, and Clara became her own boss, establishing an economic foothold on top of an educational foundation that would inspire all three of her children to attend college and nursing school and even achieve advanced degrees.
Milton and Clara were founding members of the Coup 10 Social Club, a cooperative of ten Black couples who pooled their funds to create investment opportunities. The members met quarterly for cocktails, dressed to the nines in order to advance their collective financial goals.
In 2002 Clara entered the Meridian Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Red Bank (later Shrewsbury) after sustaining an injury to her back. There, with the help of dedicated health professionals, she spent 16 peaceful years surviving the loss of her beloved husband, the loss of her youngest daughter, and a lifelong struggle with diabetes. Clara was comforted throughout her stay at Meridian by visits from members of the family's church home, Second Baptist Church of Freehold, specifically Rev. Andre McGuire, Deacon and Sister Clarence and Claudette Cyrus and Deacon and Sister Harris and Sara Dogan. Her last thirteen years at Meridian were spent in the company of Betty Nolen whose loving family regarded Clara with warmth and affection.
The century-long journey of Clara Gaylord was marked by her entrepreneurial spirit and a work ethic to match it. Still her greatest legacy will remain Clara's simple devotion to her family and the Lord. She is survived by her daughter Renee Taylor, son Milton Gaylord and his wife Karen; grandchildren Kenneth Taylor and his wife Lizette, Traci Taylor, and Kimmarie Johnson; great grandchildren Olivia and Alexis Taylor, Taylor Michelle Ridgeway and Isaiah Johnson; sister-in-law Ruth Gaylord Drummond; brother-in-law Anthrom L. Green; nieces and nephews Louis Wickes, Robert Wickes, Thomas Wickes and his wife Belinda, Elliott D. Lee, Marilyn Lee, Joanne Linda Green, Deborah Gaylord Bennett and her husband Henry, Jacqueline Drummond Thomas and her husband John; and great nieces and nephews Louis Wickes, Jr., Lola Wickes Tyler and her husband David, Aisha Wickes, Thomas Wickes Jr. and his wife Taprine, Victoria Marie Edmonds and her husband Daryl, Andrea Lee, Dawn Bennett, Kyle Bennett and Simone Thomas.