MCKENZIE: Ernestine McClure was born to Ernest and Bera Diggs at the family home in Henry
County (Jones Bend Road near Paris) on November 19, 1917. She had three brothers (Edwin,
George and Jerry) and one sister (Nelle).
Her college years were spent at the University of Tennessee at Martin for two years and
later received her BS degree in home economics from UT Knoxville in 1938.
There she met her future husband, Joe David McClure from McKenzie, who was studying
vocational agriculture. They were married June 15, 1940 at the Diggs family home.
Her first teaching job was home economics, chemistry and biology at Rives High School in
First son, Larry, was born in Union City in 1941. Soon after, the family began a series of
cross-country moves where Ernestine taught various subjects in a variety of grade levels.
Son, David, was born in 1948 while they were living in Oregon. As husband, Joe, accepted
assignments teaching for the Air Force and Boeing in Mississippi, Texas and Washington
State and then in the Marshall Islands of the South Pacific, Ernestine also continued her
teaching career, now expanding from kindergarten to adult pilots in training.
Returning to McKenzie in 1963, her favorite teaching assignment was at McKenzie Elementary
where she saw more than one generation of children come through her kindergarten room.
After retirement, she helped coach adults in a local literacy program.
Church classrooms were also a priority for Ernestine in all the communities where they
lived. After returning to McKenzie, she was active at the First United Methodist Church
both with children's programs and adult Sunday school and women's programs.
Ernestine was well known in McKenzie for her homecooked foods, much of it starring Joe's
fresh garden produce. But home chores never deterred this busy couple from worldwide
travels visiting their children and grandchildren as well as extended trips to England,
the Holy Land, Africa, Turkey, Italy, France, Mexico and Central America.
In the final decade of her life, Ernestine demonstrated how to overcome adversity as she
learned to cope with the ravages of Parkinson's disease. After moving with Joe to Lakeside
Retirement Center in McKenzie, she was a model of determination as she enjoyed her
handcrafts, doll collection, and word puzzles. She became a daily Internet user and
challenged other residents to competitive games of any kind.
She and Joe count six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Son, Larry, and his
wife, Ellie, live in Tualatin, Oregon and son, David, and his wife, Peggy, reside in
Houston, Texas. Brother, Jerry Diggs, lives in Nashville and sister, Nelle, in Knoxville.
Larry and David officated at the 2:00 p.m. Sunday, July 22 services at McKenzie First
United Methodist Church. Ernestine died Wednesday, July 18, at Lakeside Retirement Center.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, 16 N. McTyiere Street in McKenzie
designated for children's programs.
Grandchildren include: Douglas McClure of Marietta, Georgia, Andrew McClure of Puyallup,
Washington, Jennifer McClure Appel of Puyallup, Washington, Michael McClure of Houston,
Texas, Wendy McClure Reinwald of Katy, Texas, and Amy McClure of College Station, Texas.
The McKenzie Banner
July 24, 2007 Edition