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Ex-Ceres teacher Claire Price dies at 105
She graduated from Ceres High School in 1928
Claire Price2
Claire Mall Price passed away at age 105 on April 3. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

Claire Mall Price, a 1928 graduate of Ceres High School and Ceres school teacher in the 1930s, has died at the age of 105.

Price died April 3 at Casa de Modesto retirement center in Modesto following a bout with pneumonia.

"She stayed in good health but her short term memory had failed," said her son, Jim Price of Reno, Nevada, who visited his mother every two weeks. He said he will miss his mother but expected her death due to her advanced age.

A memorial service will be held for friends at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 at Casa de Modesto, 1745 Eldena Way, Modesto. A private family graveside service will take place on Monday.

Claire was born on Oct. 30, 1912 in Santa Ana to Oscar Mall and Fannie Hackett who were both raised on Hackett Road in Ceres. Oscar Mall was of German descent and a carpenter. Her mother was a member of the Hackett family who settled west of Ceres on Hackett Road in 1902. When she was about a year old the family returned to Ceres. There were three girls and three boys in the family: Claire, Woodrow «Woody» Mall, Lola Mall Oberkamper, Oscar Mall Jr., Richard Mall and the youngest, Olive Mall Parker.

Her third grade teacher was Mae Hensley. At that time, Ceres only had two eighth grade classes. In high school Clare was part of the glee club.

Claire wanted to become a teacher as early as the fifth grade and after graduating from Ceres High School she attended Modesto Junior College and then San Jose Teacher's College (now San Jose State University). Her first teaching job came in 1932 in rural Keyes at Fair Acres School. Mrs. Price said she was paid $800 a year to teach the first four grades at the one-room school house four miles east of town.

Ceres Elementary needed a third grade teacher in 1937 so she applied and was hired. She first taught in Ceres two years, having to quit when she married James Wildish in 1939. In those days married women couldn't teach.

The birth of Jim in 1940 spoiled her plans to return to teaching. She eventually ended up substitute teaching for a short while but was hired to teach eighth grade, then seventh grade for four years. A move to Turlock in the 1940s caused her to teach in Turlock.

Her marriage to Jim's dad ended in divorce when he was three. She remarried Clifford Price in 1946. They were married until he died.

She retired from teaching in 1966 after teaching fifth grade in the Sylvan School District under Principal Coleman Brown. Before she moved to Casa de Modesto Claire would bump into former students who remembered her.