Clara B. Windsor, School Bus Driver

Aug. 15, 1926 - Feb. 24, 2017
Clara B. Windsor, Aug. 15, 1926 - Feb. 24, 2017

Clara Bennett Windsor, who traced her roots to the early settlers of East Hampton, died of congestive heart failure on Friday at the Iroquois Nursing Home in Jamesville, N.Y. She was 90.

With her husband, Cliff Windsor, Mrs. Windsor ran the Montauk Bus Company for three decades. Her family said she also was a partner in making other family businesses successful, working at Montauk Hardware, owned by her father-in-law, driving a Montauk taxi, and leading bus tours in the summer in addition to driving a school bus.

She adored young children, her family said, and “many children in Montauk started their school day counting on her steady hand, ready welcome, and the occasional milk money when they forgot it.”

She was born in East Hampton on Aug. 15, 1926, to Horace Emmett Bennett and the former Clarissa Bell Lester and was raised among the extended Round Swamp Lester family of Three Mile Harbor Road. She graduated from East Hampton High School in 1944. She and Clifford E. Windsor Jr., a World War II veteran, were married on Oct. 5, 1947, and moved to North Shore Road in Montauk, living there until their retirement in 1976.

The couple traveled briefly, and for two winters after retirement, led caravans of recreational vehicles around Mexico as what were known as “wagon masters.” They eventually settled in Brooksville, Fla. Mrs. Windsor  remained in Brooksville after her husband’s death in 1984, moving north five years ago to be closer to her daughters, Donna W. Libert of East Hampton and Sharon W. Alestalo of Jamesville, which is in upstate New York. She and her husband had also enjoyed ballroom and square dancing.

She will be remembered for “her joy in helping others and could make friends anywhere she went,” her family wrote, describing her ready smile and friendliness. She was always willing to lend a hand to someone in need, and her church and community benefited from her generosity, they said.

“She was strongly motivated to preserve her blessings and leave things better than when she arrived; for her that often meant cleaner, neater, and prettier,” her family said, adding that she enjoyed being a homemaker and took pride in her home. Her family said they often were spoiled “as she showed her love by doing.”

In addition to two daughters, Mrs. Windsor is survived by three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her siblings, who died before her, were Winifred Phillips, Isabel Nelson, Clarence Bennett, and Edward Bennett.

A memorial and burial at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton will be held in the spring. Donations in her memory were suggested to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 18 James Lane, East Hampton 11937, which she attended as a child, or the Montauk Community Church, P.O. Box 698, Montauk 11954.