Clara Cantrell was born in Harvey, Illinois, and graduated from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois with a Master’s degree. For several years she was an elementary school teacher before becoming a principal.
In 1969 she married the prominent New York Pentecostal minister, Ithiel Conrad Clemmons, a widower with three daughters and left her career as a principal in Illinois and relocated to New York to become a wife and mother.
Having established herself as an innovator, education advocate, a lover of children and a woman with a standard of excellence afforded her the opportunity to serve as a leader of children and young adults within the religious community. For more than twenty years Mrs. Clemmons was the Chairlady of the International Youth Department of The Church of God in Christ. In this position she was responsible for the spiritual, education and economic empowerment of the youth of the church worldwide. Although this position was her most prominent one it was in no way her only one, for she has served in other youth focused positions.
As the wife of Bishop Clemmons, until his demise in 1999 Mrs. Clemmons had the opportunity to provide spiritually, educationally, socially and economically challenged African-Americans with tools needed to overcome them.
Mrs. Clemmons is an insightful Pentecostal woman of color, well respected, loved and admired.