OBITUARY

Clara C Berns

June 29, 1920August 4, 2022

IN THE CARE OF

Leak Memory Chapel

Clara (Capouano) Berns, of Montgomery, Alabama, 102, died peacefully in her daughter’s home in Lansing, North Carolina, on August 4, 2022, in the presence of her daughter, Diane (Berns) Baker, and her son-in-law, John Baker, and with the caring support of their end-of-life-care Death Doula, Mary Lane of Black Mountain, NC. Clara had lived with Diane and John for the past two years. Born on June 29, 1920, in Atlanta, Georgia, Clara was the oldest of the four children of Morris Capouano and Esther (Taranto) Capouano, immigrants from the Greek island of Rhodes. After Clara finished high school, the family moved to Montgomery, where they lived for the rest of their lives (and where the surviving two children still live), the only exception being Clara’s move to Lansing in 2020. All of the children became well known in Montgomery for their professional work, their dedication to the community of the Agudath Israel–Etz Ahayem Synogogue, and their contributions to the social fabric of the city. In order of birth: Clara; Albert Capp, married to Rachel (Hanan) and later to Gaby (Salama); Pearl (Capouano) Hasson, married to Pinkie Hasson; and Leon, married to Sylvia (Arogeti) Capouano. After high school, Clara worked at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. She met her future husband, Woolfe Berns, an Englishman, at one of the regular Saturday night gatherings sponsored by Temple Beth-Or for Jewish servicemen stationed at Maxwell. Woolfe was a pilot in the UK’s Royal Air Force, so after the couple married, they moved back to England for two years. Their first child, Jack, was born there in 1947; the family returned for good to Montgomery shortly afterward, where their daughter, Diane (Berns) Baker, was born in 1952. Clara Berns worked for many years at Junior Vogue, a children’s clothing store started and owned by her and Woolfe, with various locations in Montgomery. Upon retirement, she dedicated herself to various passions: her children and grandchildren (Kellie and Hollis Berns), cooking—especially Mediterranean foods—and baking, mahjong, and, later in life, gardening. Clara had a uniquely gentle and kind spirit; a very giving person, she made you feel special and that you had her full, caring attention—whether you were a customer in the store or a family member. As part of an unusually close family, she and her siblings saw each other at least weekly throughout their lives, had dinners together regularly, and talked daily. Woolfe died in 2007. Ten years later, Clara moved into Oak Grove Inn in Montgomery and, just after she turned 100, Diane and John Baker brought her to live with them in Lansing, NC, so they could care for her in their home. They honor and cherish that time they had with her. Diane wrote, upon her mom’s death, “Being my mom’s caregiver for the past two years has been a life-changing experience that neither John nor I will ever forget. Her presence here was many things. This experience and opportunity deepened and enriched our lives and has certainly changed us.” Both Diane and John give thanks to the community of relatives who were such an important and deeply integral part of Clara’s whole life and who mutually looked out for her, as she did for them; and to Clara’s end-of-life caregivers, from whom they learned so much. Clara is survived by her sister Pearl and brother Leon; her daughter, Diane; son-in-law, John; granddaughter Kellie; and her nieces, nephews, and cousins, too numerous to name. The funeral will be held on Monday, August 8, at 2:00 p.m. at Leak Memory Chapel in Montgomery, with a graveside service to follow at Greenwood Cemetery. Pallbearers: John Baker, Morris Capouano, Max Capouano, Stephen Dorsky, Roy Glasner. Honorary pallbearers: Morris Capp and Fred Shaftman. In lieu of flowers, Diane and Kellie will be establishing a Go Fund Me effort, to support the dissemination of information and instruction on End of Life Care at Home. If you would like to contribute to this Memorial fund in honor of Clara, please write to dbpandera@gmail.com with the subject line “Memorial for Clara.” When the link is established, you will be notified.

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Past Services

Monday, August 08, 2022

Chapel Service