Public service is difficult. In many instances, you will find more friendships are lost than formed. Having someone alongside who you can count on no matter the circumstances, someone you know without a doubt you can trust, who can set you straight in a constructive way and is there to celebrate your greatest victories, and console you during times of loss is so important.
A Fitting Departure
Elected officials, judges, pastors, friends, and family gathered this past weekend to celebrate such a person—Clara Lea, wife of Mayor Sherman Lea, who recently passed away. Mayor Lea has served the public in a variety of roles including with the Virginia Department of Corrections, Virginia Parole Board, Roanoke City Public Schools (Member and Chair), and on the Roanoke City Council (Member, Vice-Mayor and Mayor). Alongside Mayor Lea in each of these roles was Clara, a steadfast supporter, counselor, and helper.
In the case of Mayor Lea and Clara, the help was not one-sided. Even as the Mayor attended to the challenging responsibilities of his elected and appointed roles, he did so only after ensuring Clara was adequately cared for. There were events missed, appointments rescheduled, and late arrivals at meetings. But all were to ensure that medical appointments for Clara, and associated errands were first and foremost on the Mayor’s schedule. It can readily be said that both helped one as much as the other –supportive of each other to the end.
The Mayor’s commitment to the City and his dedicated public service will continue without interruption. It will perhaps be a bit more difficult than in the past because it will be without his closest helper and confidant, though he is fortunate to be surrounded by a loving and committed family, and retain those friends who have stuck by him through the many years of service.
Clara Alice Schroetter Lea—one of the Star City’s Shining Stars!