Clara (Corky) Fields
“Weep not, weep not, she is not dead. She’s
resting in the
bosom of Jesus.”
Excerpt from “Go Down Death” by James Weldon Johnson
Fields was born almost a century ago in Vicksburg, MS and raised in New Orleans, LA. A devout Christian, she wrote in a poem: “God, teach me to be wise, unselfish, and true, and to do the things you command me to.” That is how she lived her life and how she brought up her daughters to live their lives. This beautiful, insightful, and incredible woman peacefully closed her eyes and went to heaven to “rest in the bosom of Jesus” on Sunday morning, March 6, 2022.
Her father, who was her mentor, best friend and whom she loved deeply, was the lead chef at the Happy Landing Restaurant. She would laugh and say his form of discipline was to preach, preach, preach! It was from him that she learned the importance of education, to be self-reliant and thrifty.
Two years after World War II, Corky, at the age of 21, decided to apply for
positions overseas with the government. Adventurous and with faith, she traveled alone working in Guam, Japan and Germany. Her talent with decorating and entertainment provided a job she loved in the NCO club, helping to lessen soldiers’ homesickness.
Returning to the United States in the early 50’s, she met Acie, her husband of 56 years. Theirs was an equal partnership long before the Women’s Liberation Movement.
Corky was once told she was born ahead of her time. Intent on using her education and her mind, she simply could not stay at home watching soap operas. She wanted to work and earn her own money. It was important to her to be self-sufficient so she could “buy her own panties” or purchase her own car. She attempted to get a credit card in 1971, only to be told it had to be in her husband’s name. This was totally unacceptable to Corky. Acie, loving his wife greatly, had to learn how to cope with his bright and ambitious wife and yes, co-sign for her credit card enrollment.
As an Army wife, she worked for Civil Service as a secretary and administrative assistant at Army and Air Force bases in Georgia, Hawaii, Germany, Kansas, and New Mexico. She was very proud of her top secret security clearance. Her performance ratings always contained words like “outstanding achievement and performance of duty; sustained superior performance and high degree of professional competence, skill and
Corky refused to allow herself to be defined by the thinking and times of those who surrounded her. Born in the deep south in 1925, Corky knew the prejudice of the time. She remembered having to sit on the bus behind the sign, “For Colored Only”. Yet, she believed that the most important thing was “to love one another”. In recent times, at the age of 96, she was saddened to see the country go through racial turmoil again. Being someone that truly faced severe prejudice, she felt it was important to move forward, not backward. She was all about faith and love – not hatred and blame.
Corky is preceded in death by her husband Acie Fields; parents Clarence Curry Sr. and Mildred Gatlin; siblings Clarence Curry Jr, Mildred Bailey and Clarence Curry III; and various nephews and nieces. She is survived by her daughters Karin Fields and Nyeta Haines; son-in-law Edward Haines; sister Crystal Berry; niece and nephew Jazzmin Curry and Adrail Brown.
Heartfelt gratitude goes to Anne Martinez, Caroline Atencio and Wray Roccaforte from Albuquerque Comfort Keepers and her neighbor Judith Will, that allowed her to stay in her home for many years. Also, thanks go to her Las Cruces caregivers and to Mesilla Valley Hospice in Las Cruces. A Graveside service at Fairfew Memorial Park will be held on March 25, 2022, at 1:00pm. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mesilla Valley Hospice in
Las Cruces or St. Mary’s Church in Albuquerque, NM.
“And when my life has come to an end, let me die having been to the world, a friend.” â€”excerpt from a poem by Clara (Corky) Fields
Published by Albuquerque Journal on Mar. 20, 2022.