Virginia Tidwell Cloar had a natural talent for bringing people together and helping to enrich their life experiences.

Virginia Tidwell Cloar had a natural talent for bringing people together and helping to enrich their life experiences.

As a wedding consultant for 50 years at the former Cohen’s Fashion Shoppe here, she aided an untold number of brides with her skills as a seamstress who specialized in refurbishing heirloom gowns to make their wedding days even more memorable and unique.

Cloar, who was born in Warren to the late Frank and Mabel Tidwell on Nov. 11, 1917, died Aug. 26, at the age of 94. Funeral services were conducted Friday at Calvary Baptist Church at Little Rock.

As hostess of numerous “Dainty Dorothy” tea parties for young girls, she imparted lessons on proper etiquette at social functions. Later, as an aide at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum, she put together the state’s largest exhibit of dolls, many of which came from her own lifetime collection. And for about half a century, she was a teacher in the adult women’s Sunday school class at Southside Baptist Church here, lending Christian leadership and support to over three generations of women.

“She was just always involved in everything,” said one of her two surviving sons, Ralph Cloar Jr. of Little Rock. “She was always helping others.”

Cloar was raised in Pine Bluff, graduating from Pine Bluff High School in 1935. She married Ralph Cloar Sr. on Valentine’s Day, 1936, The couple were Southside Baptist Church members for 60 years before moving to Little Rock in 2001 and joining Calvary Baptist Church. They had been together more than 73 years when her husband died on Sept. 6, 2009.

“She was a model mother,” said Ralph Cloar Jr. “She expected her children to excel and didn’t accept mediocrity.”

He added that he and his brothers – Robert Cloar of Fort Smith and the late Frank Thomas Cloar – learned many life lessons from her.

“She was always encouraging us and others,” he continued. “She was that way at Cohen’s. I don’t know how many of her customers and co-workers have told me about how she used to encourage them as well.”

Cloar said his mother was especially proud of her doll collection, which was displayed at the museum for many years.

“It was popular with the kids,” said his wife, Katy Cloar. “She liked seeing others enjoying the dolls.”

One of Virginia Cloar’s fondest experiences occurred in 1965 when she chaperoned Miss Arkansas – Rhonda Oglesby of Pine Bluff – to the Miss America Pageant.

In addition to her family and other activities, Cloar was also active in square dancing. She and her husband were longtime members of the Rocking Rebs Square Dancing group, traveling the state to practice their dancing skills.

Memorials may be made in the form of contributions to The Alzheimer’s Association, 225 Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill., 60601, or Calvary Baptist Church.