HAHIRA — Jeanette Clanton, 83, has lived in Hahira all her life and is known as a pillar of strength and a gentle soul to the Hahira community. In the community she is affectionately known as Ms. Nette.
The apple did not fall far from the tree, Clanton fine tuned these strengths as a child because she watched and learned from her parents.
Ms. Nette was born to Clifford and Reba Plaire. Her father, served as city councilman, justice of the peace, and city court judge of Hahira; he also owned a barber shop for over 40 years. Her mother worked as a seamstress.
Clanton was one of seven children and grew up with a great adoration for Hahira’s community.
As a young girl she loved going to ball games and making everyone laugh.
“I wasn’t the girl all the boys wanted to go with,” Clanton said. Instead, she was often the third wheel or the driver.
She graduated from Hahira High school, got married at the Hahira First Baptist Church, and raised her only son in the city she loves the most.
When describing Hahira Clanton said it was caring, gentle, and a place where everyone knows each other.
Smith Hospital was where she got her first job, and then went on to work at First State Bank. Georgia Power Company (GPC) is where she spent the majority of her career as a customer service representative. Clanton described the GPC as a lifeline for the Hahira community, she said her experience there was wonderful, and she will always cherish the time she spent there until her retirement in 1992.
In 1969, Jeanette and her husband Leland purchased the Sissy Shop, a ladies apparel store. They ran it for 37 years and were able to open a second store — The Sissy Shop Too. Clanton closed the stores in 2006 to look after Leland, however she still owns the buildings.
Clanton met her husband while she was visiting a friend at their home. That same day Leland was returning home from service in United States Coast Guard. The two went on one date before they became a couple, and one year later in 1952 they were married.
Leland worked a supervisory personnel management specialist at Moody Air Force base for 27 years. After that he worked as a consultant for the office of personnel management until his retirement in 1992. He then went on to serve as city manager of Hahira and was elected as mayor of Hahira in 1993. “He loved it,” Ms. Nette said.
One of her fondest memories of her husband is the reception held in his honor. The City dedicated an Alley to him and during dedication his son Michael recited an original poem about his father.
“He was a fine man,” Jeanette said.
Leland and Jeanette were married for 58 years until his death in 2011. Leland’s family remembers him as a soft spoken, humble, and gracious man.
Ms. Nette still lives in Hahira with what she says are “the dearest people on Earth.”