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WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Family of Clara Gomez remembers her life & legacy after she was killed in crash

By Lia Lando,

2023-05-24
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Family and friends are mourning the loss of a woman who had a unique impact on her community.

They say 58-year-old Clara Gomez died after she was hit by a car on Main near E. Utica Street Tuesday night.

Gomez was known as Claire to people in the community where she spent most of her time. Claire was beloved across Buffalo and even made her mark in the world of music. In 2019, Buffalo-based hip-hop group Griselda used her photo on its "WWCD" album cover.

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On Wednesday, 7 News spoke exclusively with Clara's family about the legacy she leaves behind and her journey from a home in Blasdell to the streets of Buffalo.

Julius Torres and Joseph Rodriguez want everyone to know what their Aunt Clara was like before she was living on the streets. She spent years living with them and their mom in Blasdell.

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Her nephews say she had a rough childhood and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar depression. They say she had ongoing mental health issues that went untreated and, "It was hard to grow up and see her on this steady decline."

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They want people to know that their aunt was a good person and their family always tried to help her but she turned to a life of drugs.

Joseph explains, "She did whatever she could to get drugs but I think that was her coping mechanism."

Julius says, "We also want to take the time to say thank you to everybody who always gave her a dollar, two dollars, any type of anything."

Teaira McCloud was one of those people who often served Clara a hot meal at McDonald's on Main and Utica.

"She was part of the community," Teaira explains and says she even had a favorite table by the window so she could watch what was going on outside. She says Clara was a celebrity of sorts and is, "part of the Buffalo history."

Clara's family is also feeling the pain but holding onto each other and the good memories. "I remember always seeing her get off the bus 'Auntie Clara's home guys' and my mom always had a plate ready for her and a place to stay," explains Julius.

Her family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral services which you can find here .

You can find more information on the investigation into the crash here .

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