Viola Phillips Claiborne, 91, of Coleman, died Tuesday, February 23, 2021 in Wichita Falls. Funeral service will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 6, 2021 at Stevens Funeral Home Chape. Following the funeral service there will be a short graveside service and burial at the Coleman City Cemetery. The funeral service will be live streamed and available to view for up to 90 days. Go to www.livingmemorials.com and select the obituary page for Viola. The live stream will be located at the bottom of her obituary page. Face coverings are mandatory to attend the funeral service. Services are entrusted to Stevens Funeral Home.
She was born Viola Pearl Phillips on September 16, 1929 in Cross Plains to William Henry Phillips and Lena Mae Woods Phillips. She grew up around Cross Plains and graduated from Cross Plains High School at the age of 16. She then went to telegraph school in Springfield, Missouri and worked for Western Union on the railroad in different parts of Texas. On April 9, 1948, Viola married Harold Claiborne and they started their family in Coleman. They lived there until 1955 when Harold took jobs in Odessa and Abilene before settling in Midland in 1960.
After all the children started school, Viola went back to work, working as a Kelly Girl with several different companies. Her last position as a Kelly Girl was at First National Bank in Midland. There at the bank she found her niche as a banker and outstanding businesswoman with great people skills. She rapidly worked her way to the position of Vice-President with several prominent oilmen as clients. Later she went to work at Clay Desta National Bank in Midland, where she was also a Vice-President and assistant to Clayton Williams.
As her children moved away, Viola took up ceramics and became an excellent craftsman and was especially talented at painting and firing ceramic dolls, nativity sets and Santa Clauses for the whole family. In 1995 Viola and Harold moved back to Coleman to retire, renew old friendships and make new ones. They loved to play bridge and were happy to teach anyone interested in learning the game. Viola’s love for playing bridge continued to the end. In her free time she began painting rocks and used her family to spread them far and wide.
Viola leaves behind her four children, Patrick Michael Claiborne, Terry Dean Claiborne and wife, Shelia, Patricia Lynn Claiborne Cloud and husband, Jerry, Evelyn Kay Claiborne White and husband, Stephen. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Claiborne in 2012; six brothers and sisters, Elva Phillips, Joe Phillips, Cecil Phillips, Stanley Phillips, Gina Marie Phillips and Ophelia Phillips.
The family has requested that memorials in memory of Viola be sent to your favorite charity.
Remembrances, condolences, and messages of comfort can be expressed to the family at www.livingmemorials.com. Stevens Funeral Home is honored to serve the Claiborne family.
Funerals are currently a public event being held during the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When you attend a public event, you are acknowledging risk of exposure.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Viola Pearl (Phillips) Claiborne, please visit our floral store.