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Clara Shaver, 103; Teacher Got UCLA Degree 5 Years Ago

July 24, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Clara Shaver, 103, who at age 98 became one of the oldest people to receive a degree from UCLA, died Tuesday in Riverside of old age.

A community volunteer in the Riverside area, Shaver had led a prayer service for female inmates at the Riverside County Jail twice a month since the early 1920s.

Born in Comfort, Texas, on Dec. 29, 1899, she came to California with her parents and siblings in a covered wagon as a child of 7. She recalled growing up on a ranch where she churned butter by candlelight. She also told of seeing Halley's comet twice, in 1910 and 1986.

She enrolled at UCLA in 1920, studying to be a teacher. Two weeks before graduation, she accepted an offer to teach elementary school in Riverside and never returned to UCLA to finish her degree. She taught in Riverside County for 39 years, and volunteered at hospitals and nursing homes for seven decades.

In 1998, UCLA officials presented her with an honorary diploma to make up for the one she would have received had she not left to teach.

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