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Claudia M. Kirkland Henry, known affectionately as “Duck” to those she held dear, was a beacon of love and generosity that illuminated the lives of everyone she encountered. Born on June 30, 1957, in the serene town of Campbellton, Florida, Claudia embarked on a journey of compassion and warmth that would span 66 years, culminating peacefully on February 6, 2024, in Marianna, Florida.
Claudia's early years in the nurturing embrace of Willie and Iona Mathis Kirkland laid the foundation for a life characterized by an unwavering commitment to family and community. Her radiant spirit was a testament to the values instilled in her by her parents and the loving bonds she shared with her siblings, Willie Mae Kirkland and Hattie Kirkland. Though they, alongside her cherished granddaughter Jasmine Burch, preceded her in passing, the love they shared continues to resonate through the family.
She was the proud matriarch of a family that includes her devoted children: Shannon Henry and Leah Henry of Marianna, Florida, and George Beachum, Jr. of Century, Florida. Her legacy further blossomed with her adoring grandchildren Nicholas Pollocks, DeShon Pollocks, Ja'Marcus Sims, Keeylisha Speights, and LaQuavia Henry, and a great grandson, Kaidence Collins each a bright star in the vast constellation of her life.
Her brothers, Albert Kirkland of Dothan, Alabama, and Billy Kirkland, alongside his wife Lucille, Trenton Kirkland of Atlanta, Georgia and her sisters Rosetta Kirkland of Cottondale, Florida, Tranee Kirkland,Trindalyn Kirkland of Atlanta, Georgia and Lula Mae Brown of Long Island, New York each reflect a facet of Claudia's boundless love. The bond shared with her very special and lifelong friend, Ivory Long, of Marianna, Florida, stands as a testament to the depth of connection that Claudia cultivated throughout her life. Her influence extended to a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends, each of whom carries a spark of her enduring spirit.
Her passions were many, but none more so than the simple joy of cooking and the pleasure of spending time with her beloved family. Claudia's kitchen was not just a place of culinary creation but a sanctuary where laughter was shared, stories were woven, and memories were lovingly crafted. Her dishes were more than meals; they were expressions of her love, each ingredient a testament to her caring nature.
To describe “Duck” as loving, friendly, and generous is to glimpse the surface of a life lived with an open heart and an open door. She was a mentor, a confidante, and a friend to all, embodying the kind of selfless love that inspires others to reach out, connect, and support one another. Her influence will continue to be felt, not just in the echoes of her laughter or the wisdom of her words, but in the countless acts of kindness she inspired in others.
As we celebrate the life of Claudia M. Kirkland Henry, let us carry forward the torch of her love, illuminating our own paths and those of others with the same warmth and radiance she shared so freely. “Duck” life was not simply a tale of years passed but a timeless narrative of a soul that truly lived, loved, and left an indelible mark on the world. May we all aspire to live as “Duck” did—with open hearts, open arms, and an unyielding zest for the beauty of life.