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1932 Alicia 2022

Alicia Luise Mcgehee Mcclary

August 4, 1932 — February 7, 2022

Alicia Luise McGehee McClary, August 4, 1932 – February 7, 2022. Alicia, formerly of Memphis, Tennessee passed away early Monday, February 7th at her retirement home in Townsend, Tennessee surrounded by her family.

Alicia was born to Wilburn Ross and Cornelia (Helmers) McGehee on August 4, 1932, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The only child of parents heavily involved in the field of education, Alicia was destined to have an instilled drive for a successful educational and professional career. Growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the Manhattan Project period of history added to Alicia’s unique upbringing. Alicia met and fell in love with her husband of 59 years, Richard Edward McClary, while their respective families lived and worked in Oak Ridge. Alicia and Richard attended the University of Alabama and wed on September 8, 1951. The loving bond of matrimony between Alicia and Richard resulted in the births of five daughters. Alicia’s one major expectation was for each daughter to attend a university to explore their interests and for their personal empowerment.

Alicia attended the University of Memphis, attaining an EdD degree. Alicia became a Professor of Preventative Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis. In the 1980’s, Alicia wrote the first grant to integrate health promotion and disease prevention into the medical school curriculum. In the 1990’s, Alicia pioneered a teaching model in intercultural medicine. The unique program featured intercultural learning experiences enabling the medical students to learn more about the patients’ diverse backgrounds. Alicia inspired, encourage, and mentored hundreds of budding medical students to reach out and become involved in population health programs. Through her more than a quarter of a century effort, Alicia worked to make Memphis and Tennessee a healthier place to live. Her career was devoted to helping young doctors realize they could contribute to the health of the underserved and marginalized communities in Memphis. Early efforts involved introducing her students to the 4-H clubs in rural West Tennessee, working at summer camps to improve the camper’s healthcare and to open their minds to the possibility of pursuing a medical profession. Alicia represented UTHSC in various national initiatives of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trust. The formation of Clinical Esperanza (Clinic of Hope) in the early 1980’s was one of Alicia’s great accomplishments. The clinic brought hope to underserved minority population of Memphis utilizing more than 400 students and medical residents and 30 faculty volunteers from UTHSC. The clinic provided desperately need free primary care to the growing Latino population of Memphis every Wednesday. The result was mutually beneficial to the patients and their families as well as to the development of the young medical professionals. In 1999, Alicia was named Educator of the Year by the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine. Alicia retired from UTHSC in 2006 and was awarded Professor Emeritus status in 2010.

Alicia was preceded in death by her mother, Cornelia McGehee; father, Ross McGehee; husband, Richard McClary; daughter, Susan Gandy.

She is survived by her daughters, Dr. Cheryl McClary (Asheville, North Carolina), Wendy and Dick White (Cedar Key, Florida), Jenifer and Henry Tanner (Knoxville, Tennessee), Kathleen and Mark Wilson (Maryville, Tennessee); 11 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren.

A remembrance service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Alicia’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alicia Luise Mcgehee Mcclary, please visit our flower store.


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