Sept. 20, 1967 – Sept. 5, 2017
First diagnosed with breast cancer more than seven years ago, the Rev. Paulette Thompson-Clinton overcame the disease three times.
When cancer recurred for the fourth time, she established an internet blog, “Still on the Journey,” which traced her determination to beat it again.
In May, she wrote, “The lens you look through significantly affects how you interpret something. I have chosen to look through the lens of MBC (metastatic breast cancer) with a positive viewpoint instead of a negative one."
An early participant in the Witness Project as it was being organized in Buffalo, she maintained that each day should be lived abundantly. She once dismissed an oncologist for being too negative about her prognosis.
A teacher and minister, Mrs. Thompson-Clinton died Sept. 5 in her home in Bethany, Conn. She was 49.
Born Alicia Paulette Thompson in Providence, R.I., she was the daughter of the Rev. Paul F. Thompson, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Buffalo. Known to all as Paulette, she grew up in Syracuse and Buffalo and was a graduate of City Honors School.
She received a bachelor’s degree in 1989 from Northwestern University, where she majored in music and French, then worked for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as coordinator of education relations, fostering music enrichment programs in public schools.
She earned her master’s degree in education, specializing in teaching English as a second language, from the University at Buffalo in 1998, and taught English to foreign speakers at the UB English Language Institute and Buffalo State College until 2005.
From 1998 to 2000, she used her proficiency in French while she worked in Benin in West Africa for the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help in its Primary Education Teacher Training Project.
She went on to graduate summa cum laude with a master’s degree in divinity in 2006 from a seminary her father attended, Drew Theological School at Drew University in Madison, N.J. She was ordained in New Haven, Conn., in 2012.
She served as a minister at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City and Community Baptist Church in New Haven and was a visiting pastor at other churches in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. She also was a retreat and workshop leader and founded her own ministry, “The Art of Living Well.”
A talented musician, she played cello all of her life and often appeared as a guest performer. She was a member of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She also sang with the Marble Gospel Choir of New York and the Heritage Chorale of New Haven.
She received the Sojourner Truth Award in 2003 from the Buffalo Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs.
Survivors include her husband of 12 years, Marc Clinton; a son, Amari Clinton; her mother, Sybrnee Thompson; and a brother, Derrick Thompson.
Memorial services were held Sept. 15 and 16 in New Haven.