Mrs. Marie Bernadette Leal St. Clair, 70, of Phenix City, AL was called home by our Heavenly Father on Monday, July 4, 2022, while at her son’s house in Midland, GA.
A funeral mass will be held at 3:00 pm Saturday, July 9, 2022, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Phenix City, AL. The family will receive friends on Friday evening, July 8, 2022, from 6:00 until 8:00 pm, with a Rosary at 7:00 pm at Vance Brooks Funeral Home in Phenix City, AL.
Mrs. St. Clair, affectionately known as Bernie by most of her family and friends, and lovingly called Nikki by her husband, was born on June 30, 1952, in Laredo, TX, daughter of the late Bernardo Leal and Rosario Vizcaya Leal. There, she graduated Salutatorian from Ursaline Academy in 1970. In 1974, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&I University with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English and History. Her Minor was in Psychology. In 1976, she graduated from Texas A&M University with a Master of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in Special Education Supervision.
Mrs. St. Clair began her lifelong career in education at St. Augustine High School in Laredo, TX upon graduating with her B.S. in 1974. In 1975, she started teaching English with Laredo Independent School District (LISD). Shortly thereafter, she became a Supervisor Diagnostician in the Special Education Department of LISD, where she served faithfully until 1998. In 1998, Mrs. St. Clair started teaching English, Mythology, and Journalism at Shaw High School with the Muscogee County School District in Columbus, GA. She devotedly taught at Shaw HS until her retirement in 2016. Mrs. St. Clair had an important impact on many young peoples’ lives in her 42 years in the field of education. She had three biological children, but she was seen as somewhat of a surrogate “mom” to the thousands of students she taught and loved.
For Mrs. St. Clair, family was of the utmost importance. She cherished her husband, children, grandchildren, siblings, and numerous nieces and nephews. She often went out of her way to make sure that her family was happy. She also loved her friends and colleagues, both near and far, maintaining contact with several of them throughout the years.
After retiring from the school system, Mrs. St. Clair enjoyed reading, watching her cop shows, and spending quality time with her husband, children, and grandson. A lifelong and avid reader, she enjoyed everything from mystery and utopian fiction to historical and biographical books. She was also a movie buff and could name almost any obscure actor and/or actress that she saw in film. One thing her oldest son will always cherish is the love of classic films (especially old horror films) that she instilled in him. She was a strong-minded and feisty woman but would give the shirt off her back to anyone in need. She loved talking politics but was a freethinker who believed in honesty, loyalty, and freedom. She instilled in her children an appreciation of history as she always preached the adage that we must know our history lest we be doomed to repeat it. Mrs. St. Clair was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Phenix City, AL.
Other than her parents, she was preceded in death by her youngest son, Patrick Bernard LaFleur; two sisters, Rosario Carmichael and Estela Trevino; and one brother, Manuel Leal.
She is survived by her loving husband of 24 years, Richard St. Clair of Phenix City, AL; a son, Glenn David Vargas-LaFleur and spouse Luis of Midland, GA; a daughter, Marie Bernadette LaFleur and spouse Amanda (and three daughters) of Phenix City, AL; a grandson, Jonah Patrick LaFleur of Phenix City, AL; a daughter-in-law, Leann LaFleur (and her daughter, Emma) of Phenix City, AL; a stepson, Joel P. St. Clair and spouse Annjeanette of Brockport, PA; and many more extended family members and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org
To sign the online guest register visit www.vancebrooksfuneralhome.net.