Wanda Mcclamb: UNC student, mother remembered
For someone who was almost entirely blind, those close to Wanda Mcclamb say she had an impressive ability to see — whether it was seeing the meanings in her UNC textbooks without being able to read, or seeing a friend in every person she met.
Wanda Mcclamb, who was a junior studying sociology at UNC, died of complications from a kidney transplant on Aug. 4. She was 44.
Wanda Mcclamb’s daughter, Octavia Mcclamb, said her mother was studying to be a social worker.
“She wanted to help other blind people,” she said. “She wanted to help disabled people.”
Octavia Mcclamb said her mother, who was originally from Kenansville, studied at Wake Technical Community College for three or four years before transferring to UNC in 2012. Paying for school with multiple scholarships and grants, she had expected to graduate in 2014 or 2015.
Wanda Mcclamb was recently elected to the advisory board of the Visually Impaired Program (VIP) in Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department, said Betsy Cuthrell, who worked with her.
VIP organizes recreational activities for adults with visual impairments.
Cuthrell said Wanda Mcclamb created a close rapport with the other participants when she joined the program in 2012.
“She would talk to anybody,” Cuthrell said. “She didn’t know a stranger.”
Allen Davidson, Wanda Mcclamb’s husband, said she was proud of being a student at UNC.
“She was very proud and outgoing,” he said. “Everyone she met, she touched and uplifted.”
Octavia Mcclamb said her mother was hardworking and ambitious. She said Wanda Mcclamb earned a near-perfect GPA and was on the dean’s list in fall 2012, her first semester at UNC.
Octavia Mcclamb said her mother hired a reader who would read back her notes from class and help her study, since she was unable to read the text herself.
To support her family — which also includes her younger daughter Genesis Davidson and her stepsons Allen Davidson Jr. and Dominque Davidson — Wanda Mcclamb worked three jobs before she enrolled as a full-time student.
Wanda Mcclamb was a playful woman who will be remembered for the way she helped other people, Octavia Mcclamb said.
“She was a very kind person,” Octavia Mcclamb said. “She was a person that wants to help everybody.”
Wanda Mcclamb was involved with the organization Active Minds at UNC, which advocates for changing the conversation on mental health on campus.
Davidson said his wife was outgoing and cheerful and always maintained a positive spirit.
“She never complained about her illness,” he said. “You would never know she was sick or blind.”
Cuthrell said Wanda Mcclamb will be missed by everyone who knew her.
“She had a pretty infectious laugh,” Cuthrell said. “She loved to laugh, loved to talk. She was a people person.”
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