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Etelvina Clara Pritchard

February 4, 1923 August 12, 2015
Etelvina Clara Pritchard
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Obituary for Etelvina Clara Pritchard

Clara was born in Lisbon, Portugal, to José Marques Teixeira and Maria José de Sousa Teixeira. Early in her childhood, Clara discovered she had a passion for dancing and pursued her love of dance. In 1937, at the age of 14, she was recruited as a member of the Royal Portuguese Ballet and, after arduous and dedicated training, she performed her first full venue at age 15 — the youngest of any previous ballerina in the company to perform in front of an audience. As a professional ballerina, she performed for and personally met the king and queen of England, the president of Brazil, as well as many royalty, celebrity and notable audiences throughout Europe and Africa. Her career as ballerina, dancer and actress spanned more than 20 years. In the mid-1950s a back injury made it difficult for her to perform fully as a ballerina. However, through her love of performing and disciplined training, she continued her career as a dancer in major dance productions and various acting roles. Clara traveled the world both professionally and, after her retirement from performing in the late 1950s, she worked in Liberia, West Africa, where she met the love of her life, James F. “Frank” Pritchard. Frank asked Clara on a date to see a movie and she found a fun-loving guy that always had a kind and caring demeanor, and who worked hard. They soon fell in love and were married in January 1963. They moved back to the U.S. and Clara worked diligently to acquire her U.S. citizenship. She was proud of becoming an American and spoke of this often with family and friends. The couple lived in West Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lancaster, California, Morro Bay, California, and various Southern California communities in between overseas projects. Her love of travel and living abroad fueled opportunities to visit many countries around the world during and after Frank’s work assignments. She had a flair for cooking different and sometimes exotic dishes from places they had visited, which made for great conversation about the cultural aspects of their travels. Many in Brookings-Harbor know of Clara as the “Cat Lady.” Her love of animals in general and providing for feral cats was a passion into which she put heart and soul. A local gentleman built a shelter off of the parking lot in the back marina area and dubbed it “Clara’s Cat House” in 2004. Today, the small safe haven for the marina’s cat colony is known as “Clara’s Colony” and is still supported by local residents, the South Coast Humane Society and some out-of-town folks who met Clara over the years. The feral cats have played an important role in keeping the marina vermin in check and supporters, including managers of the marina and harbor, have appreciated those efforts. Clara was a beautiful, caring, unpretentious loving person who will be greatly missed. She truly was a lady of grace, class and she touched the hearts of all who knew her. Etelvina Clara Pritchard was preceeded in death by her husband of 52 years, James F. “Frank” Pritchard; parents José Marques and Maria José de Sousa Teixeira; brother Rui de Sousa Teixeira. She is survived by stepchildren Roxanne M. Eggers of Lewisville, Texas, James F. “Skip” and Renee Pritchard of Walla Walla, Washington, and Charles F. and Diane Pritchard of Bend; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. There will be a dual memorial service for Clara and Frank Pritchard at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, at McVay Rock State Recreation Site on Oceanview Drive in Harbor. James F. “Skip” Pritchard will be presiding. Memorial donations may be made to South Coast Humane Society, P.O. Box 7833, Brookings, OR 97415, www.southcoasthumane.org.

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