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Remembering M. Claire Lomax, Esq. – December 28, 1962 – May 31, 2022

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By Sara Lomax-Reese

Mary Claire Lomax. M. Claire Lomax, Esq. MCL. The common denominator is Claire – which means clear in French. And Claire was clear. Straight no chaser. Strong, opinionated, smart as a whip, hilarious, no holds barred. All in. Ride or die. A true conversationalist. The kind of person who sits on a plane and by the end of the flight knows everything about the person next to her. Fast friends. Enduring lifelong relationships. As she often said, “I take the plaintiff as I find them” adopting the legal tenet as her personal philosophy towards others, accepting their frailties with unconditional love. She cherished her friendships and maintained relationships that extended from her elementary school days at Buckingham Friends School, to George School, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown Law School and the many boards and organizations on which she served.

A brilliant lawyer, Claire was the General Counsel for The Lomax Companies for most of her illustrious career. She worked side by side with her boss, our father, Walter P. Lomax Jr. M.D., and her five siblings, to help provide expert legal and HR advice to all of our businesses including Correctional Healthcare Solutions, Prime Image and WURD Radio. But her passion was philanthropy. She helped our parents, Walter P. Lomax Jr., M.D. and Beverly Lomax, launch The Lomax Family Foundation (LFF) in 2003. She was the CEO of LFF for almost 20 years providing grants that offered a financial lifeline for many African American arts and cultural institutions, health care and educational programs. She served on numerous boards including the African American Museum in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Award, the William Penn Foundation, and the Board of Trustees for the Penn School of Social Policy and Practice. In 2016, Claire was selected to be a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, a group of outstanding women who are recommended to the Governor for their extraordinary service and contributions to the Commonwealth. But serving as a Trustee on the Board of the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated in 1984, was one of her deepest joys. Selected as a Trustee in 2007, she loved Penn and dedicated time and treasure to the institution. Never one to bite her tongue, Claire was outspoken about issues related to diversity, particularly focused on maintaining a strong African American presence on the campus. Before joining the Board of Trustees she was instrumental in breathing new life into the James Brister Society, a Penn alumni organization focused on engaging alumni of color, which she co-chaired for several years. Most recently, Claire created the Access to Equity Foundation to address systemic disparities at the board level of organizations.

M. Claire Lomax, Esq.

But Claire was also a believer in “work hard, play hard.” She loved to cook, often inspired by the Food Channel or the Cooking Network that played in the background while she concocted something delicious. Food was such a passion, one year Claire decided to teach a cooking class for her friends. Claire collected art, loved vibrant colors, and truly felt the music on her eclectic playlist. A master entertainer, she relished planning the menus for dinner parties or birthday celebrations. And you could always count on a fabulous, delicious meal anytime you stopped by her spot. “Take some with you,” was often her refrain. And her favorite respite was Cape May – West Cape May to be specific. She spent as much time as she could during summers and holidays walking, going to the beach, stopping by the Washington Street Mall – and of course entertaining. Claire loved birthdays – her own and others. She was the one to always send a card or text everyone to remind them of a relative’s birthday. And she was very very particular about how she spent her birthday – each one carefully and meticulously curated.

Claire was an incredible mother – tough, kind and generous – raising two children, Dylan and Jared, her stepson. She provided them a nurturing, solid foundation in which they developed and thrived. She poured her creativity, intelligence and tenacity into her amazing daughter Dylan. Art lessons, theater classes, sewing, lacrosse, Claire made sure she had it all. Every play at Greene Street Friends and Central High School and later Brown University – Claire was in the house cheering Dylan on. And make no mistake, Dylan’s theater gene was inherited. Claire loved musical theater. From her elementary debut in Godspell and later a turn at the Bucks County Playhouse in a high school production of The Me Nobody Knows, throughout our childhood Claire was singing show tunes as we did our daily household chores. She was writing plays that she demanded were performed for our parents’ friends. And she wrote and recorded songs on a tape recorder to be refined and shared. Claire loved creativity.

She was a natural leader. President of the Pennridge Central Junior High School Student Council (a little Black girl in a predominantly white school in the 1970s elected by her classmates); captain of the cheerleading squad at Pennridge Central; captain of the field hockey and lacrosse teams at George School; and she played field hockey her freshman year at Penn.

Claire was clear – and balanced. She was the one, when asked anything, examined the opposing side. Outspoken. Funny and raucous. Complex. Open hearted. Truth teller – whether you wanted to hear it or not.

We will treasure your one of a kind blend of wit, humor, brilliance, kindness and creativity. You are free, at peace and ever present with us. We will do our best to walk in your big, bold footsteps.

OneLove again and again and again, Mary Claire Lomax., M.Claire Lomax, Esq., MCL. Claire.

Written by: Sara Lomax-Reese

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