Gwendella Guinevere (Gilmore) Clemons

March 12, 1935 ~ May 11, 2021 (age 86)


The service for Mrs. Clemons will be live streamed on the Facebook Page of Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor.

A Phenomenal Woman

Gwendella G. Clemons was born in Durham NC to Charlie Washington and Lizzie Alston Gilmore on March 12 1935. She was the youngest of 5 siblings: Annie Belle Rogers, Jettie Belle Brown, Charlottie Tucker, Steven Harry Gilmore (all deceased). Family, Church and Community molded and provided her with a strong value system, which she continued to use throughout her life.

(She was a Phenomenal Woman)

Gwendella was raised and served in the Mount Vernon Baptist Church where her grandparents were founding members. She participated in Sunday School, trained in BTU, taught Vacation Bible School, sang in the Children’s Choir, Senior Choir #1, Celestial Choir, Junior Missionaries, Youth Council, Cub Scout Den Leader, Credit Union Manager, Dr. Rose Butler Brown Planning Committee and a member of the Ruth-Elizabeth Missionary Group. She served as a member of the Black History Committee, Historical Committee, Archives Committee, and Governance Committee until her death. She was a “lifetime” member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

(She was a Phenomenal Woman)

          She was educated in the Durham Public School System graduating from Hillside High School with honors in 1952 With her mother’s encouragement, she went on to attend North Carolina College (NCCU) receiving a BS Degree in Business and completing her Master’s Degree in Business Education and Secondary Principal Education.  She graduated early and was considered “too young” to work in Durham Public Schools.  So she took the initiative to apply for a teaching job in Damascus, GA at Kestler High School and was hired immediately.  She lived and worked in GA for 2 years sending monies home to help support her family.  She was taught at an early age that, “family was always important.”  She was now old enough to secure employment in North Carolina.

(She was a Phenomenal Woman)

Upon returning to NC she met, dated and married the ‘Love of her Life” Sylvester D. Clemons in 1963. They were married for 47 years. They worked and traveled with clubs and friends. They established a home, where they lived together until his death in 2012.

 (She was a Phenomenial Woman)

In 1959 she secured a position at Lincoln High School in Chapel Hill NC as a Business and typing teacher.  She served as the assistant coach and later became the head coach for the girls’ basketball team in 1962 and became a member of the Piedmont Athletic Association.  During this time of Civil Rights reform, her courage would be tested as Chapel Hill prepared for integration. In 1966 she became one of seven African American Teachers to desegregate the faculty of Chapel Hill Senior High School teaching Bookkeeping and typing.

(She was a Phenomenal Women)

While serving at Chapel Hill High School, Gwendella fondly was given an adopted name “GG”, which has remained her trademark.  She coached the GAA Girls Basketball Team for 2 years, Advisor to Student Council for 3 years, CHHS Cheerleaders for 11 years, Class Advisor for the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades and headed the Business Department.  This was a racially intense undertaking but GG stuck to her philosophy for being “fair, firm and friendly”. She was credited by a local newspaper for being “phenomenal” when settling student unrest and convincing them to attend and apply themselves academically. Her philosophy was tested daily. Her positive impact among students was recognized and she was appointed Assistant Principal in 1980. She remained at Chapel Hill High School with anecdotal testimonies from co-workers and students that can only hint at what she accomplished with integrity, and indomitable will, and strength of character. Co-workers, Teachers, Students, and Parents continuously inquire about “GG” with respect and affection for her dedicated and outstanding leadership and service to education.  She has received numerous honors and accolades.  “GG” has had thousands of her students in leadership positions all over the state and nations.  She often hear from them reflecting on their experiences with “GG” at Chapel Hill High School.

(She was a Phenomenal Woman)

Gwendellas’ Social and Community Organizations includes:

Emory Woods Homeowners Association “Coffee Hour”
Yahama Social Club
Charter Member of Eastern Star Non-Parallel
Committee of the Affairs of Black People
Hillside High School Class of 1952 Planning Committee
Inducted into The Golden Eagles of NCCU
The Retired Educator’s Association
Lifetime Member of the National Educators Assoc. (NEA)
Retired Administrators Association

 (She was a Phenomenal Woman)


Leaving to cherish her memory are: Marcia Barbee of MD, Ronald (JoAnn) Rogers, Alfred Rogers, Charlene Taylor, all of Durham, David (Seretha) Tucker of Timberlake, Mallory (Leroy) Williams of Fayetteville, Angie (Mike) Baldwin of SC, Steven Gilmore of Durham, Otis (Velma) Johnson, of Durham, Vickie Judd of Raleigh, Dr. Deborah Rogers of Raleigh, and a host of great & great-great nieces, & nephews and two Godchildren, Barry Johnson and Traleeze Taylor; and friends.

  Special Thanks to Caretakers: Chantay Barbee, Ania Barbee, Jessica Rogers, Jo Ann Rogers, Charlene Rogers, Otis Johnson and Cathy Riddle.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gwendella Guinevere (Gilmore) Clemons, please visit our floral store.


May 14, 2021

1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor
3137 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707

Funeral Service
May 15, 2021

12:00 PM
Antioch Baptist Church
1415 Holloway Street
Durham, NC 27703

May 17, 2021

11:00 AM
Beechwood Cemetery
3300 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707

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