Sally Jean (Winters) McClain
April 24, 1947 - July 31, 2020
Sally McClain was a skilled Artist, a gifted Art Teacher, an enthusiastic Girl Scout Leader, and a cherished mother, sister, partner and friend.
Sally’s passion for teaching helped hundreds of young artists discover their talents and experience the joy of creating art. She first taught after-school oil painting lessons in her backyard studio in Irving, Texas. After receiving her BFA and teaching certificate from the University of North Texas, she went on to teach middle school and high school art in Grapevine, Texas. Sally touched so many lives with her gift for developing the potential in others.
Sally’s classroom at Grapevine High was one where every student was welcomed and challenged to be their best. Over the years many students who did not always feel welcome or safe in other parts of school found a home and a community in Mrs. McClain’s classroom. She gave them love and understanding, and created a space where they could be their weird and wonderful selves. Sally loved all her kids, but had a special place in her heart for the ones who needed her the most.
Sally’s wit and humor helped her connect with people throughout her life. Even in the worst of times, she could crack a joke and share a laugh. She loved talking about politics, sci-fi, art and philosophy, and would often stay up late at night “solving the problems of the world” with friends or family. She taught her daughters to be feminists and to care about the world around them.
Sally was the second oldest of six, born in 1947 to Mary Lou and Richard Winters. She attended Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the University of Oklahoma. As a young wife, she lived in Heidelberg, Germany with Mark McClain, and then they returned to Oklahoma to start a family. When her daughters were young, she was heavily involved with the Girl Scouts of Tejas Council in Irving, Texas, helping girls develop confidence and leadership skills. After retiring from her teaching career, Sally moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico with her beloved partner Harriet McGraw. Sally was always inspired by the subtle beauty of the desert, which influenced her art. After Harriet’s passing, Sally lived her final years in Austin, Texas. Sally cherished the people she met and the friendships she formed at each of these stages of her life.
Sally is survived by her daughters Jennifer McClain and Darcy McCown, her son-in-law Brian McCown, her granddaughter Ruby McCown, her sister Linda Ellis, her brothers Rick Winters and Steve Winters, her many nieces and nephews, her ex-husband Mark McClain, and her step-children Katherine Patterson and Jason McGraw. She was preceded in death by her partner Harriet McGraw, her parents Mary Lou and Richard Winters, her brother Mike Winters and her sister Mary Daniels.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Sally cared deeply about electing women leaders, LGBTQ equality, and racial justice. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her honor to an organization that supports one of these causes.
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