Port Arthur News
“Grandma” Louise Barclay has seen a lot of kids in her 94 years of life.
Twelve children, 25 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren to be exact.
Barclay was seated in her living room, where she has resided for 53 years, when a group of family and newfound friends entered the pristine home Wednesday afternoon bearing a bouquet of flowers and a message that Barclay was chosen as the 2013 Nederland Mother of the Year.
Members of the Nederland Chamber of Commerce congratulated Barclay who was surrounded by daughter Kathy Sturrock, daughter-in-law Kay Barclay and granddaughters Kim Newton and Jennifer Mattingly.
“Not only is she a fantastic mother and grandmother but the smartest person I know,” Mattingly said, adding that she was once asked who she looks up to as a role model. The answer came easy, her grandmother. “If she were born 100 years later she’d be sitting in Barack Obama’s seat.”
The family traded stories and memories of Barclay.
“I grew up in this house, we had one bathroom” Sturrock, who was child number nine of a dozen, said with a laugh.
Mattingly explained that the children slept in triple bunk beds; one room for the girls and another for the boys.
Newton is the one who penned Barclay’s nomination letter. In the letter she said that although Barclay raised 12 children she was a second mother to hundreds of others.
“She invites the community into her home, her pantry and her heart,” Newton said in the letter. “She offers advice or a shoulder to cry on to those who need it and offers a memorable conversation for the rest. Everyone, even the mailman, calls her “Grandma.” She has also been a much needed role model to all mothers. When I have children and I am tested, I will simply ask, ‘what would Grandma do?”’”
Barclay has lost much during her lifetime; family, friends and her eye sight, Newton said, adding that last year was probably the most difficult having lost a niece and a son. Even during her pain she held the family together, she said.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to God for making her my grandmother,” she said. “I also couldn’t be more proud to call her that. She is everything a mother should be... caring, strong, wise and unconditionally loving.”