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Helen Claire Wheat Mahaffey

March 14, 1931 July 16, 2023
Helen Claire Wheat Mahaffey
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Obituary for Helen Claire Wheat Mahaffey

Helen Claire Wheat Mahaffey

March 14, 1931-July 16, 2023

Helen Claire Mahaffey, 92, of Tallahassee, entered into God’s kingdom on July 16, 2023. Helen Claire was born on March 14, 1931 to Anthony Joseph Wheat, Sr. and Helen Ward Smith Wheat. She spent her formative years on her parent’s farm in Quincy, Florida with her brother (and friend), Joe. Always a sharp mind, it would surprise no one to learn she graduated from Quincy High School in 1949 as valedictorian of her class. After high school she went on to attend Florida State University where she majored in Home Economics and was a member of the sorority, Alpha Delta Phi.

She was an enthusiastic member of the First Presbyterian Church of Quincy, where she volunteered with the junior choir for many years. It was at First Presbyterian that she met her beloved husband of thirty-one years, James (Jimmy) Mahaffey.

She spent many years as a substitute teacher for the Gadsden County School System, where she made a positive impact on the lives of the children she taught. Never one to shy away from adventure, when she reached the age of retirement she decided instead to become a real estate agent and broker at Century 21 Realty and later even ventured out on her own to form Bird Dog Realty.

Helen Claire was a devoted, and much loved, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Affectionally known to her grandchildren by the moniker Granny Claire (and its derivative, Lanny Lear), she was famous for her oatmeal cookies, seafood gumbo, and love of Florida State athletics.

She enjoyed sports (when Florida State was playing), gardening, traveling, and spending time at the beach with family.

Helen Claire is preceded in death by her parents, loving husband James (Jimmy) F. Mahaffey, and her younger brother Anthony J. (Joe) Wheat Jr. She is survived by two daughters and one son: Mary Carol (John) M. Young of Tallahassee, Florida, Harriet (Dennis) M. Tucker of Tallahassee, Florida, and Branch Mahaffey of Carrabelle, Florida; seven grandchildren, John P. Young Jr., Jamie C. Young, Jordan E. Young, Carmen N. Young, Elisabeth L. Tucker, James J. (JJ) Mahaffey, and Jason B. Mahaffey, as well as nine great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The family will receive friends at Charles McClellan Funeral Home on Thursday, July 20th from 5:30-6:30pm.

There will be a private graveside service at Hillcrest Cemetery on Friday, July 21st at 10:30am for family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Lighthouse Children’s Home at 7771 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, Florida 32309, or Big Bend Hospice at 1723 Mahan Center Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32308.

Charles McClellan Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. (850) 627-7677.

Special thanks to the staff at Visiting Angels and Big Bend Hospice.

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