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Pamela Ardith McClure, born January 14, 1961, died at home July 27, 2010, after a valiant struggle with pancreatic cancer. Dr. McClure, a published author, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with degrees in Religious Studies and Interdisciplinary Women Studies and a PhD in English. She taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Stephens College before accepting a position at Columbia College where she became Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities.
A poet, horsewoman, and musician, she was a master at the creative art of living. McClure paraphrased the painter Paul Klee, claiming that she wanted to “live like a child, but a wise child.” She gave readings of her poetry throughout the Midwest, published four books of poetry as well as countless poems in scholarly literary journals, and mentored hundreds of students. She had a knack for making poetry and the interpretation of literature accessible to a wide range of minds. She stated, “I had a hunger for learning and I recognized some of those same hungers in my students,” prompting her innovative approach in the classroom.
In addition to her accademic work and writing, she taught horseback riding, worked as a paramedic, accompanied herself on the guitar, amused herself with drawing and painting, and cooked with the creative flair of a chef. She once said, “I’m inspired by good ideas, smart thinkers, nature, art, and anything else that is done well.”
She was tenderhearted, fun-loving, and generous to a fault, possessed of an undying love of dogs and all living things, and had a consummate sense of humor. She leaves behind countless adoring students, a menagerie of pets, far too many unwritten poems, stories and books, and a community of grieving friends. She is survived by her partner, Tracy Toler, sister Donna McClure Begley, and five well-loved nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will be held in October in Columbia, Missouri. Three of Dr. McClure’s books are published by Sutton Hoo Press. The most recent, Rock Dove, is published by Red Dragonfly Press. Donations may be made in Pam’s name to Columbia Second Chance.