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Maira W. Cleaver

Posted By DeBord-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On April 12, 2013 @ 2:06 pm In Obituaries | 2 Comments

Maira W. Cleaver, age 91, passed away on April 7th after living at the Willow Valley Retirement Communities since 1999.  Her parents were John and Mary Wright. She will be greatly missed by her family and many friends. She was the loving and devoted wife for 54 years of William Cleaver, practicing attorney for the Univac Corporation and a Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is survived by daughter Susan Priem (Joseph) of Paoli,Pa. and two granddaughters, Jennifer Priem of Sagamore Hills, Ohio and Melissa (James) Boukalik of Phoenixville, Pa. and three great-granddaughters.  She was preceded in death by her loving husband Dr.William Cleaver, grandson Andrew Priem, her brother Leslie Wright and her wonderful companion Charles Giaque.


She earned a B.S. in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and was a member of Delta Sigma Epsilon Sorority.  An accomplished singer, she sang during her college years as part of a Fred Waring quartet each Sunday over radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh. While at Rutgers University she earned an M.S. in psychology and became a teacher and guidance counselor for 24 years.


Maira always lived life to its fullest, both with her friends and family and through her community and volunteer work.  While living in Lancaster she served as an elder of First Presbyterian Church, was on the Willow Valley Lakes Residential Council, and on the Lakeside Health Council. In Hudson, Ohio she served as a Trustee of the First Congregational Church of Hudson, sang in their choir, was a Trustee of Laurel Lake Retirement Community and their Foundation Board. Maira served on the board for 22 years with Presbyterian Senior Living, a non-profit organization for the elderly, including two years as the first woman to chair the  board. In Paoli, Pa. she served as a deacon and elder at the Paoli Presbyterian Church and as a soprano soloist. She was past president of the Upper Main Line Women’s Club, House Chair of Waynesborough Country Club, and a member of the Board of The Trading Post, benefiting Fox Chase Cancer Center. In Chester County, Pa., she served on the Children and Youth Services Board and was chair for 12 years. Maira and her husband enjoyed many years of international travel as well as their vacations to Cape Cod, and playing tennis and golf.


Friday, April 26th at 11:00 please join the family for a celebration of life memorial service at The First Presbyterian Church,140 E. Orange St, Lancaster, PA.  The family will greet friends at the church from 10:00 A.M. until time of the service. Parking is available at the church or the Kearney Snyder funeral home directly across the street.  The interment memorial service, open to all, will be at The Baptist Church in the Great Valley, 95 N. Valley Forge Road, Devon, Pa. on Saturday April 27th, at 2:00 PM followed by a reception in the church’s Fellowship Hall.


In lieu of flowers contributions in Maira Cleaver’s memory can be made to an organization dear to her heart: Presbyterian Senior Living,  One Trinity Dr. East, Suite 201, Dillsburg, Pa. 17019.

Condolences for the family of “Maira W. Cleaver”

Condolence from Rev. Paul E. Gordon on April 14th, 2013 8:21 pm

Upon reading of Maira’s homegoing, I was so unhappy to learn that she had been living in Willow Valley and I so near there yet I never knew it.My association with her her (and Bill) while on the Presbyterian Home Board for many years was one of delight and we had many conversations together of a spiritual nature.She will be so glad to be reunited w/ Bill and her grandson.May the comfort that comes only thru our Lord be yours.


Condolence from Randy Riggs on April 17th, 2013 2:52 pm

It was an honor for me to be Maira’s pastor during the time she lived in Lancaster. Often when people move to a Senior Living facility, it is to retire from life. Not her. She suggested her name to the nominating committee and was elected an elder for two consecutive terms. She was the kind of leader who did not have to speak on every motion, but when she spoke, people listened.

I remember a moment when I came to understand Maira best. She had broken her hip (?) and Willow Valley wanted to place her in assisted living when she was discharged from the hospital. She was determined to return to independent living and do her rehabilitation there. No one thought it was a good idea but her. Nevertheless, she prevailed, and it was many more years before she needed to consider living at a higher level of care.

She was an indominable spirit who refused to give up when she knew what was right. I loved her and will miss that spirit. God got a good one when God called her home.

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