Laura Nell Cluett

June 29, 2021


Laura Nell Lauderdale “Lollie” Cluett, 92, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2021.  Lollie was born in Mercedes, Texas, to Vennie Haynes Lauderdale and Henry Dero Lauderdale.  She attended Mercedes High School and The Hockaday School, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Teaching Certificate from the University of Texas in 1950, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi.  After moving to Houston, she taught at Albert Sidney Johnston Jr. High School, where she positively influenced the lives of students who continued to reach out to her as recently as 2020. She met and married Marvin Vaughan “Pete” Cluett in 1955.  While raising their family in Hunters Creek Village, Lollie and Pete found time to enjoy entertaining, dancing, serving the community, and spending summers on Galveston Bay.  She was a member of The Garden Club of Houston (President in 1995), The Junior League of Houston (editor of their first best-selling cookbook, Newssheet editor & sustaining board president), and served on several philanthropic boards through the years.  Devout Episcopalians, Lollie and Pete were active members of their church wherever they lived: Palmer Memorial Church, where their children were baptized, St. Francis, St. Martin’s, and St. Helena’s in Boerne. Always eager to keep busy, expand her mind, and make a difference, she was a docent at The Bayou Bend Collection, a member of Antique Study Club, Bridge Club, and a substitute teacher in the Spring Branch Independent School District.  After her first grandchild was born, Lollie organized a group of friends to open a popular children’s clothing shop, The Merry Thought, where she was managing partner.

 Whether teaching, gardening, cooking, touring school groups at local museums, or clothing the children of Houston, Lollie thrived on her close, easy relationships with young people, which kept her young at heart for so long.  She impressed upon her students, her children and their friends the importance of giving back and being good citizens.  Her friendships were true, and crossed generations.

Lollie was predeceased by her favorite dance partner of 65 years, Pete, as well as her parents, her brother James Henry Lauderdale, and a son, Joseph Cluett, born and died March 10, 1958.  She leaves three children: Ellen Cluett Donnelly (Frank), Cary Edmund Cluett, and Vennie Elizabeth “Libby” Cluett.  Also surviving are grandchildren: Frank Wetherbee Donnelly III (Alexandra); Laura Eleanore Donnelly; Katherine Donnelly Gehrs (Tyler), Emily Adele McGranahan (Isaac Boyles), and Camilla Faye Cluett.  She adored one great-grandchild: Ruby Lee Donnelly, and looked forward to meeting two born during the pandemic – Frank Wetherbee Donnelly IV & Ellen Donnelly Gehrs.

Lollie died as she lived, with grace, a quick laugh, and a smile.

The family is deeply grateful for the care received from Dr. Maureen Beck and the Center for Healthy Aging at UT Physicians, as well as A Better Hospice; and especially for the love and devotion of the staff and residents at Holly Hall Retirement Community, where Pete & Lollie spent their last 7 years together. 

Contributions may be made to Holly Hall Retirement Community (2000 Holly Hall Street, 77054), The Garden Club of Houston Endowment Fund (4212 San Felipe, PMB 486, 77027), or Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church (6221 Main Street, 77030).  Services pending.


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