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This tribute was written by Evans Donnell.
Look at the photographic portrait Dennis Wile made of former Tennessean theater critic Clara Hieronymus and you’ll see this wonderful centenarian – she is 100 today – as I’ve seen her over the years: She’s leaning forward and looking through bright, clear eyes that intelligently focus on every detail.
Trying to sum up this incredible person in one article would be a fool’s errand, and there are many people that have known her better and longer so I would also be guilty of hubris.
What to write about her then? Well, there are too many biographical items about the Mississippi native to note, but here are some facts many might not know: she earned a bachelor’s degree by the age of 18 (in business administration, cum laude, from the University of Tulsa; she later finished a master’s degree in sociology and social work with a major in child welfare – more on that subject later – at the University of Oklahoma at Norman and also has an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Rhode Island College), and before she spent 40 years covering theater (and other beats) for Music City’s morning daily newspaper she had a stint as a labor market analyst for the United States Employment Security Commission.