Cover photo for Dr. Juanita Clay-Chambers's Obituary
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1947 Dr. Juanita Clay-Chambers 2022

Dr. Juanita Clay-Chambers

July 9, 1947 — December 28, 2022


Dr. Juanita Clay Chambers, a loving wife, champion educator and friend of many passed away peacefully on December 28, 2022 in her home in Detroit, MI. Juanita was born on July 9, 1947 in Yazoo City, Mississippi. The daughter of Rev. Henry and Clara Clay; she was the tenth of eleven children. Growing up as the child of a prominent United Methodist Minister she attended schools in different cities throughout Mississippi, including: Yazoo City, Canton, Jackson, Forest and ultimately graduated from Harris High School in Meridian, Mississippi. After High School, she relocated to Detroit, MI to continue her education. With the support of her brothers and sisters, Juanita worked her way through college, beginning at Highland Park Junior College and eventually transferring to Wayne State University where she completed her studies. “Nita”, as she was affectionately called by her friends and family, was an exemplary scholar. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Science Education, Master of Education in Science Education, and a Doctor of Education in Education Administration, from her beloved alma mater Wayne State University. Juanita began her career as a Science Teacher in the Detroit Public School System. Her passion for education and her uncompromising commitment to excellence allowed her to excel rapidly in her career. After rising through the ranks of local and divisional school leadership, her incomparable administrative skills propelled her all the way to the District Senior Executive Team. For nearly four decades Dr. Juanita Chambers was an irreplaceable fixture in the Detroit Public School system. She served in several capacities including: Science Specialist, Supervisor of Middle School Science, Director of the Office of Science and Mathematics, Associate Superintendent of the Division of Educational Services, Deputy Chief Academic Officer of Curriculum Development and Related Programming and finally as the Associate Superintendent of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction when she retired in 2008. During her illustrious career, she served as a consultant and leader for local, national, and international initiatives, affording her numerous awards and recognition. Some of the awards she received were the Wayne State University Arthur Brown Empowerment Award, Outstanding Administrator of The Year Award, The Black Family Development Humanitarian Award, The Marcus Foster National Association of Black Science Educators Educator of the Year Award, Outstanding and Dedicated Service to Education Quality Award and the Women of Courage and Change Award from Delta Theta Sorority Incorporated. Throughout the years, Juanita celebrated these accomplishments with her husband Clarence Chambers, whom she married in 1985. As prominent, educators, they built a life and legacy of serving Detroit’s youth and teachers together. When they were not working Juanita loved to travel and experience different countries and cultures all over the world . Juanita never met a stranger, and could charm anyone with her intellect and warm smile. She will be greeted in heaven by both parents, and her brothers Rev. Henry Clay Jr, Rev. Willie Clay Sr (Ruth), Paul Clay, and Jesse Austin (Lois). She leaves to preserve her memory, her sisters Clara Washington, Virginia Clay, Carrie Whitfield (James) Carrie Lee Collier (Earsell); brothers, Robert Clay Sr. (Alfreda), James Clay, Leonard Clay Sr. (Maylene); sister in laws Effie Clay and Betty Clay and a plethora of nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues and friends.


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_Aunt Nita program 11x17 version final (1).pdf

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 19, 2023

3:00 - 8:00pm (Eastern time)

James H. Cole Home for Funerals - NW Chapel

16100 Schaefer Hwy., Detroit, MI 48235

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Funeral Service

Friday, January 20, 2023

Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)

Scott Memorial United Methodist

15361 Plymouth Rd, Detroit, MI 48227

Family Hour 10:30am

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