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Mary Eleanor (Wiggins) Clinkingbeard

June 28, 1925 ~ November 13, 2021 (age 96)


On November 13, 2021 our beloved Mother and Grandmother, Mary Clinkingbeard died peacefully in her sleep. She was 96 years old. Mary Eleanor Wiggins Clinkingbeard was born the eldest of three children on June 28, 1925 in her grandmother’s home outside of Neelyville, Missouri to Eleanor “Lover” Proctor Wiggins and Waymon K. “Hop” Wiggins. Her grandfather, Samuel Proctor was a country doctor in Ripley County Missouri and her uncle “Doc” Carter Proctor delivered her and her siblings. Her sister Helen was born two years later, followed by their little brother, Samuel Wiggins. Mary’s family moved to Ava Missouri where Mary attended school. She graduated from Ava High School and later went to William Woods College where she received her Associates of Arts Degree, just as her mother had before her, a rare accomplishment for women of that era. While in high school, Mary met her future husband, Kenneth (Eugene) Clinkingbeard. Eugene was a talented athlete and attended the University of Missouri where he played basketball and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate. During World War II, before he left to fight overseas, they were engaged, and upon his return in 1946, they were married. In 1948 their daughter, Mary Kathryn Clinkingbeard was born, followed by their son, Kenneth E. (Gene) Clinkingbeard II, in 1954. Mary and Eugene moved their family to Phoenix in 1956, after Eugene accepted a job as a teacher and basketball coach at Scottsdale High School. In 1958, they had another son, Virgil K. (Kent) Clinkingbeard. In the early sixties, they built a house in Phoenix on Flower Street. That was where Mary lived for over 60 years. Mary was a homemaker until Eugene became ill and passed away in 1971. She then went to work for the Scottsdale School District and later was an administrative assistant until she retired in 1996. It was no surprise that Mary was an active member of the PEO, an organization founded in 1869 by women who are passionate about helping other women advance through education while supporting and motivating them. Mary traveled extensively to attend PEO educational seminars around the country and played an active part in sponsoring philanthropies to assist women in reaching their educational goals. During her life, Mary enjoyed playing golf, bowling, and bridge. She delighted in watching both the sports games that her husband coached and those broadcast on television. She traveled extensively with her family all over Europe, North America, Central America, and even to Africa when she traveled on safari with the directors of the Phoenix Zoo! Mary was quite devoted to her family. She was present when all 3 of her grandchildren were born: Lindsey (Gene & Maryellen) and Andrew (Kent & Tyra) in 1992 and Michael (Gene & Maryellen in 1994. All three brought her real joy and she, along with her daughter Kathi, cared for them whenever she could. Mary was always involved in the lives of her grandkids and happily attended school functions, sports games, recitals, birthday parties and of course Grandparents Day! She set up educational trusts for each of them so they might one day achieve their dreams. In 2004, Mary’s daughter Kathy became ill and passed away, which left her devastated. A few years later she decided to take her children and grandchildren on a trip together and let each family choose the destination! Kent, Tyra, and Andrew went with her on an Alaskan cruise, from Anchorage to Fairbanks to Vancouver. Gene, Maryellen, Lindsey, and Michael went with her to Paris and boarded a train to Rome and explored the sights of Europe together. It was a delightful time, full of happy memories for everyone. Mary’s eldest son, Gene, trained as a pilot and Mary loved flying with him in both helicopters and airplanes. Her last flight with him was in an Airbus 320 he flew as a Captain with American Airlines. Her Grandson, Michael also got his pilot license and at 90 years old, Mary flew in an airplane with him over her house and saw the sights of Phoenix from 5,000 feet! Her youngest son, Kent, and his wife, Tyra moved to Colorado with their son, Andrew. Kent retired from teaching there and also coached college and high school ball like his Dad, while teaching in Arizona and Colorado. Tyra still teaches. They built a beautiful log home in Whitewater where Mary loved to spend time. She would often travel there with Tyra’s mother, Artie at Thanksgiving, and really enjoyed spending time there with her family and the friends she made there. For the last few years of her life, Mary stayed in her home and had many wonderful caregivers to see to her needs, especially Liza, Vei and Veronica. These caregivers were simply wonderful with Mary and went out of their way to keep her happy, including tending her garden, feeding her birds, watching endless episodes of Heartland and fixing wonderful home-cooked meals. The family would like to thank them for all the love and devotion they showed her. Mary was a long time member of the Scottsdale Unified Methodist Church and often volunteered to help in the office. She also, on occasion, taught Sunday School class to young children, which she especially enjoyed. Mom, we will be forever grateful for the love and joy you brought to our lives. We pray that you have found peace with our Lord in heaven and have reunited once again with your loving husband, Eugene, your daughter, Kathi and all our family who have gone before us, as we hope to one day be reunited with you in the kingdom of God.

Funeral services are being held at the Clinkingbeard Funeral Home in Ave, Missouri on Monday, November 22, 2021.  

The family plans to have on "on line" memorial for Mary on Sunday, January 9, 2022 and askes any one who would like to join in to please send an e-mail to Gene Clinkingbeard at  Thank you.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Mary Eleanor (Wiggins) Clinkingbeard
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