May 12, 2021, 81, Corbett Hill –
Claro Tha “Bootsie” Grantham, 81, passed away Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at his home. Born in Wayne County on October 18, 1939, he was the son of the late Dallas David Grantham and Mary Iona Bell Grantham Thornton.
Bootsie lived his entire life at Corbett Hill in the Grantham Community. He was the proud caretaker of his dearly loved multi-generational family land. Bootsie had a deep affinity for music and was a skilled guitar player. In his younger years, he could often be found playing on Saturday nights with his friends and son in the Grantham Community. He enjoyed a good baseball game or the chance to race a go-cart. Bootsie was an entrepreneur at heart and was involved in several businesses before settling back into agriculture. He and his brother, David, owned and operated the Grantham Brothers’ Store in Grantham followed by Grantham Brothers’ Motors on William Street in Goldsboro. He was a well-known farmer in southern Wayne County and met many of the areas’ fellow farmers when he had a cucumber grader. He later moved to raise chickens, and his love of the occupation earned him the title “Chicken Man.” At the entrance of his farm stands his famous concrete chicken where many stop by for a photo-op.
Bootsie’s family will remember him as a true “Jack-of-All-Trades” and “Master of Engineering.” Although he was most often found working, he also enjoyed trips with family to White Lake where he could be spotted wearing a Hawaiian shirt and cruising around on his Golf-Cart listening to the radio. In the cooler months, Bootsie prepared for the pinnacle of his year, Christmas, and with an almost childlike joy, set out to be the “Clark Griswold of Grantham,” displaying his extensive lights and other Christmas décor each year outside his home. Everyone in Grantham joked that his lights were bright enough to be a landing zone. Bootsie’s annual family Christmas was always a cherished time where he enjoyed giving and receiving gifts, and his annual “name drawing” to gift special prizes to family members. He loved a hearty “country meal” if its menu boasted boiled potatoes, and he never turned down his other favorite dish, deviled eggs; however, Bootsie’s love of food did not extend to all, and he drew the line at onion, and he would not eat a meal that had been cooked with or even prepared near onions.
Claro worked hard for his farm, his family, and his community, and if needed he would give you the very shirt off his back. Bootsie may not have given many shirts, but he always ensured his family, friends, and neighbors had fresh corn and “ice taters,” broccoli, sharp head cabbages, or the other produce he proudly and tenderly grew in his garden.
Bootsie proudly served his country in the United States Army, and served over 20 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Grantham Volunteer Fire Department, and served as Assistant Chief for many years. He also used his ingenuity in engineering to help develop the first fast dump tanker for the fire department.
A service to celebrate Bootsie’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 17, 2021 in the chapel of Seymour Funeral Home with Rev. Frank Purvis officiating. Interment will follow the service at the Grantham Family Cemetery at Bootsie’s homeplace at Corbett Hill. The family will receive friends from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at Seymour Funeral Home. The family will also continue to receive visitors at the home of Jeff and Jonnie Grantham.
Bootsie is survived by his significant other of 40 years, Tara Grantham Britt; children, Deon Grantham Keen, Jeff Grantham and wife, Jonnie, and Todd Grantham; grandchildren, Daranda Crews and husband, Mark, Matthew Keen and wife, Brooke, Abigail Keen, Dalton Grantham and wife, Rachel, and Jackson Grantham and wife, Brooke; great-grandchildren, Noah Crews, Madison Crews, Cooper Keen, Wesley Keen, Waylon Keen Pipkin, and Emmett Tha Grantham; Tara’s children, Chad Britt and wife, Meredith and Heather Toler and husband, Kevin; and Tara’s grandchildren, Christian Toler, Nick Toler, Taylor Britt, and John Britt.
Bootsie is also survived by his brother, D.T. Grantham; sisters-in-law, Ellen Grantham, Frances Grantham, and Gail Grantham; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his step-father, Robert Thornton; son-in-law, Randy Keen; and brothers, Owen Grantham, Gerald Grantham, and David Grantham.
Flowers are welcome or memorials may be sent to the Grantham Volunteer Fire Department, 3430 US Highway 13 S., Goldsboro, NC, 27530.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to Grantham Volunteer Fire Department, Smith Chapel Volunteer Fire Department, and Jordan’s Chapel Volunteer Fire Department for their outstanding professionalism and efforts during the events surrounding Claro’s death.
Online condolences may be sent to www.seymourfuneralhome.com.