Clarajo Strate Denholm


Clarajo Strate Denholm, of Jacksonville, Florida, died on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at the age of 92.

She was born March 22, 1923, in Keokuk, Iowa, to parents George and Florence Strate, and was the fifth of seven children, George, Russel, Nadine, Muriel, Gordon, and Florence. A graduate of Keokuk High School in 1941, Clarajo went on to attend the University of Iowa.

She married James B. Denholm on March 15, 1943. The mother of four, all of whom were involved at some point in the family grocery business at Denholm’s IGA, Clarajo was active in the Keokuk community, serving as PTA president and member of the Graham Hospital Guild, in addition to her involvement with Little Theater, Planned Parenthood, and Meals on Wheels.

A creative mind, she loved writing, and took great pride in the fact that she worked for a time at the local Keokuk’s newspaper, The Daily Gate City. In 1983, Clarajo and James moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where Clarajo was active in the Ponte Vedra Women’s Club and Bridge Club.

She became an avid painter, taking classes from local artists and creating wonderful paintings, often displayed at local art shows. In 2008, Clarajo moved to the River Garden community, where she continued her artistic endeavors and enjoyed telling great stories from her life, as well as the occasional game of bingo, predominantly for the ability to take her earnings straight to the gift shop for sweets.

Clarajo lived a full, creative, and happy life, with ageless skin, kindness always, and an infectious smile. Even in her later years, she was always the first to recognize how fortunate she was, noting that there was nothing wrong with her “but a case of A-G-E.”

The last of her siblings, she was predeceased by her husband, James (dec. 1989) and son Charles (dec. 2015), and is survived by her son, James Denholm, and daughters Deborah Shaffer (Karl), Georgina Stromberg (Richard), as well as 9 adoring grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at The Oaklawn Chapel, 4801 San Jose Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207, on Monday, December 14, 2015, at eleven o’clock in the morning. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to River Garden, 11401 Old Saint Augustine Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32258. Hardage-Giddens, The Oaklawn Chapel is serving the family.