Irene Clark Fainby DFH Inc. on 09/04/21
Irene Clark Fain passed away at her home at Regency Retirement Village, on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. She was born on October 6, 1925, in Dutch Bottoms (Cocke County), Tennessee, to Revs. David R. and Etta M. Clark. Among her many interests, she particularly loved traveling with her husband to visit their children in all parts of the US. They also visited Canada and Mexico. Traveling with her daughters, she also visited Jamaica, Paris, and the Bahamas. At home, she enjoyed unwinding with a series of games of Free Cell on her laptop computer while watching Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and Family Feud. She developed special, close relationships with each family member, often making them feel as if they were her favorite—if she had a favorite child or grandchild, only she knew. She had a big heart who loved and was loved by many people. When she asked how someone was doing, she took time to listen and to connect with that person. She loved her church, Young’s Temple AME Zion, and she worked as part of its leadership team for over 70 years.
Irene attended Lady Alyce Beauty College, Morristown College, and The University of Tennessee. Her career started as a beautician in Knoxville, and she went on to own a small business as a popular salon owner in Morristown. In 1986, she retired from the school system where she taught Cosmetology at Morristown East High School.
Mrs. Fain was a servant leader. By definition, in servant leadership, the leader ensures that the followers are growing in all areas — their profession, knowledge, autonomy and even their health and physical development.
As a Cosmetology teacher at Morristown East High School, Mrs. Fain left a lasting impression on her students who were preparing for careers in the field. She taught the whole person, not simply skills needed to style hair. One of her students said that she taught them how to be ladies in addition to the trade skills that she taught them. A distinguishing feature of her classes was that she taught her students how to do all kinds of hair, and 99% of her students passed the State Boards on the first attempts. She retired from teaching in 1986 with 16 years of service.
Her record of service touched on human needs that she wanted to help improve based on her faith and values. In her words, she accepted God as her Savior at the age of 9 1/2 at Rorex Chapel AME Zion Church. She started attending Young’s Temple AME Zion Church in 1945 and held every position except Pastor—Superintendent of Sunday School, Stewardess, Member of the Board of Trustees, Senior Choir Member, Local President of Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society, Hospitality Committee Member, Local Superintendent of Buds of Promise, Leader of Leaders, Leader for Class #1, and Building Committee Member. She was also active in the Blue Ridge Conference, Asheville District, as District Superintendent of the Buds of Promise; District President of the Young Women's Missionary Society; District President of Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society. She represented the church at the General Conference of the AME Zion Church. She was ordained as a Deaconess in the ‘80s and said that her favorite moments as a Deaconess were when she could assist those in need of physical, spiritual, or emotional guidance. She was a favorite choice as a speaker for many churches when they observed Women’s Day, known for her insight, spiritual grounding, and wit.
Mrs. Fain’s service to the community included 25 years at the M-H Hospital as a Pink Lady where she was recognized as Volunteer of the Year. She was a President and Recording Secretary of the Progressive Business Association of Morristown and a member of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), Retired Teacher’s Association, Reunion of the Ages, and the Hamblen County Federation of Democratic Women. She was a Board member of Morristown Central Services and CEASE, a member of Morristown-Hamblen County Education Association, Morristown College Alumni Association, President of the Retired Teachers’ Association, Secretary of the Upper East Tennessee chapter of Vocational-Industrial Clubs of America, President of the Board of Church Women United, Secretary of the Morristown-Hamblen Hospital Auxiliary—Pink Ladies, delegate to the National Convention of the National Education Association, and candidate for Morristown First Lady in 1991 (the second African American woman to hold this candidacy).
Irene was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters and brothers: Charles E. Clark; Willie Butram; David R. Clark, Jr.; Hermine Blount; Rev. Caulie Clark; Dennis Clark; and Maggie Gaddis; and by her son, Robert H. (Pat) Fain, III.
She is survived by her husband of 73 years, Robert H. Fain, Jr.; four daughters—Dr. Althia Ali of Morristown; Rosaland Tyler of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Angelia Fain of Dubai, UAE; Wayne Fain of Morristown; and Mable Fain of Greenbelt, Maryland; and daughter in law, Dr. Juanita P. Fain. Other survivors are 11 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews who were very special to her; and two loving caregivers, Patricia Proffitt and Crilla Tyler. She was particularly close to her sister-in-law, Juanita (Peggy) Clark (Caulie); Barbara Pearson; Ruth Thompson; Patsy Leeper; Barbara Mason; and her Young’s Temple AME Zion Church family.
Funeral services will be at Dockery-Senter Funeral Home on Tuesday, September 7. The family will receive friends at 1:00PM followed by the funeral at 2:00PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (https://givenow.lls.org/) and to the American Red Cross-Blood Services (https://www.redcrossblood.org/).