In the early morning of Sunday, June 10th, we lost our family matriarch, Claire Covington. Though she fought with courage, dignity and grace our Mom’s long battle with cancer ended. Her final days were spent with her husband of 65 years, our Dad, Don. He would not leave her side.
Our mother loved life at every stage. She was born to Robert W. Fogal and Maurine (Mitchell) Fogal on September 7, 1935 in Beaumont, Texas. She grew up in a loving home with her parents, her twin brother Robert (Sonny) Fogal and sisters Pat (Fogal) Hoffpauir and Penny (Fogal) Kelley.
At French High school in Beaumont, our cheerleader Mom met our football playing Dad and they were married on August 15, 1953. Just before her 18th birthday, she told her parents she was marrying this boy and if they didn’t approve, she would run away with him. Our grandparents gave in, and whatever hesitations they may have had were unfounded. Mom and Dad’s goal to build a good life together was unstoppable.
They married while Dad was serving in the Army Special Forces and Mom followed him to North Carolina where their lives together began. When Dad’s service took him to Germany, Mom returned home and had a successful career as the Secretary of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce. Following Dad’s discharge from the Army, he returned to Beaumont where they lived until moving to Orange in 1957 with their oldest son, Guy. Within a few years, they added sons Scott and Russell.
In Orange they settled in and built a wonderful life. Mom’s life centered around family and friends. For over 60 years, once a month Mom and her dear friends from as early as 1st grade, met as the “Card Club” in each other’s homes. Though they abandoned the card playing decades ago, they shared the love of their husbands and kids. More than anything, they laughed.
Mom and Dad joined the First Christian Church in Orange early in their marriage. They were not just members, but active in every aspect of church life and examples of service. They served alongside and loved our church family.
Our Mom loved being a mother. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother, a room mother and played every other role a 60’s Mom could fill. Growing up, our friends became her friends. She loved having young people in our home and always made sure there was more than enough food and fun for everyone. She followed the adult lives of many of our friends and even though most of us are in or approaching our 60s, she referred to all of us as kids.
When we all graduated and left for college, Mom revived her career goals and served for many years as an Administrative Assistant at River Cement in Orange. She was justifiably proud of her ability to recreate a whole new role for herself.
Mom loved her extended family. Her siblings were her best friends. She taught us to love and respect our grandparents by example. Her nieces and nephews were more like extra daughters and sons.
Mom had an amazing life. She loved travel and visited many countries in four continents. She once took a trip to Morocco to ride a camel and often spoke with pride about crossing the border into then Soviet Russia carrying an American flag. On every trip, she came home carrying gifts and children’s books for the grandkids she adored.
But as much as she loved seeing the world, Memorial Drive in Orange, Texas was home. Like so many, our parents were displaced following Hurricane Harvey. At first devastated by the loss, Dad set a personal and family goal to get Mom back in her home. With the help of many, including our new family hero Ebb Moore of Parlours in Orange, we celebrated moving them back into their home two weeks prior to her death.
Mom loved nature, feeling pretty, talking on the phone, fireworks, Facebook, getting attention, family gatherings, occasionally breaking into a tap dance, text messages, jewelry, decorating for Christmas, the beach and good books. She knew every checker in every grocery store in town and often stopped total strangers to compliment them on a scarf or piece of jewelry she admired. She loved traveling with Mack and Dolores, lunches with Claudia and Jimmy and Tuesday coffees with Peggy.
Some of Mom and Dad’s favorite years together came after his retirement with Dad’s appointment to the Board of Directors of the Sabine River Authority of Texas. During his service, they met new and dear friends and shared wonderful memories.
She loved life and soaked it in at every opportunity.
Her legacy lives on in those she leaves behind; her husband, Don Covington, her sons Guy and Karen Covington of Katy, Scott Covington of Sugar Land and Russell and Jennifer Covington of Orange. Her treasures were her grandchildren, Katy Covington Tinsley and husband Lance, Jonathan Covington and wife Lauren of Houston, Katrina Covington Avinger of Katy, Jordan and Chelsea Covington of Richmond, Griffin and Lisa Covington of Sugar Land, Callie Covington of Beaumont, Jayne Covington and her fiancé Todd Rash of Orange and Lydia Covington of Orange. She cherished her 7 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her beloved grandson, Brennan Clarke Covington, her parents and sisters
She leaves behind her twin brother, Robert W. (Sonny) and Jordan Fogal of Wetumpka, Alabama, 9 nieces and nephews.
Life is never long enough to suit us. But if we measure life by the love shared by family and friends, our Mom’s life could not have been more full.
Thanks to all of you who cared for her and walked with us on her final journey. She never surrendered and cherished every day. Though she would have certainly enjoyed more time here, she now rests in a place we can only dream about.
Well done, good and faithful servant. And cheers to a life well lived.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, June 15, 2018, at First Christian Church in Orange, Texas. Officiating will be Reverend Linda Hopkins. Burial will follow the service at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Orange.
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Thursday, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange.