OBITUARY: Claudina Margherita Migliara Pryor


Claudina Margherita Migliara Pryor passed away peacefully in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

She was a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and was preceded in death by her cherished husband, Dr. Boyce Bowen Pryor, Jr., and her parents Lawrence Migliara, Sr., and Vincenzina Vescovo Migliara, residents of Memphis and natives of Bassignana, Italy.

A longtime resident of Cookeville, Tennessee, she blessed everyone around her with her personal legacy of loving and caring for her children and family and pets. She was a completely devoted wife and mother, a true lover of animals of all kinds and flowers and nature, an incredible cook, a history enthusiast, an avid reader, a loyal Tennessee Volunteers football fan, a gardener, a lover of music and especially dancing in her youth, and a joyful member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Cookeville for many years.

Named in honor of both her grandmothers, she was known as Claudina by some, others as Dina, and Mama to her children. She was born on August 8, 1935, in Memphis, Tennessee.

As a first-generation child of immigrants, she grew up surrounded by other local Italian immigrant families and relatives in Memphis, many of whom were also from Bassignana. Her parents owned and operated a small family grocery store in their early years in Memphis, and for a time the family lived together in housing directly above their store. She spoke English at school, and at home spoke and was fluent in the native Italian dialect of her parents. She attended Catholic schools as a girl in Memphis, began first grade when she was five years old, and graduated high school at sixteen from St. Agnes Academy in 1952.

She began cooking at age eight, a talent and skill which grew and developed over time, and for which she was known and celebrated. She traveled to Italy with her parents and brother in 1948, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, to see for her first time their hometown, and meet her grandparents and extended family and relatives. She began college at seventeen, and thoroughly enjoyed her time as a college student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Memphis State University, studying history and business.

As a young woman, she worked in medical records personnel at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where she met her best friend and future husband, also a Memphis native, and then a young medical student at the University of Tennessee and resident with St. Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis. They married October 8, 1959, and were truly the loves of each other’s lives.

They began a military life together while Dr. Pryor was a medical resident with the United States Air Force. Together with their growing family, they lived in Arizona while he was stationed at Williams Air Force Base; Waterville, Maine, while he studied at Colby College; Adelphi, Maryland, while he was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda; Ocean Springs, Mississippi, while he was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi; and Memphis. Eventually, they settled in Cookeville, where she took care of her family and supported her husband in his ophthalmology practice, and where they had many happy years.

A true person of faith and commitment, she endured the early departure of her husband with courage, remained devoted and loyal to his memory, and was an independent and strong mother for her family in the years following. She was proud of all her children and family, and truly enjoyed being part of her children’s lives as they continued to grow in life, marry, and have their own families.

More recently, she resided in Murfreesboro, and loved attending and being welcomed by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She was so appreciative of the excellent care and love she received while living at Adams Place. Her family is grateful that during this time she was so happy. She will always be remembered for sharing her love, humor, laughter, warmth, smile, sweet nature, patience, knowledge, wisdom, stories, conversation, and the simple pleasure of sitting around the kitchen table.

Mrs. Pryor is survived by her children, Michael Pryor (Jacqueline) of Lebanon, Tennessee, Sara Pryor Monson of Cookeville, Matthew Pryor (Ada) of Cookeville, Edward Pryor (Marla) of Hilton Head, South Carolina, Sharon Pryor Dieringer (Nicholas) of Murfreesboro; brother Lawrence Migliara, Jr., of Memphis; grandchildren Mark Monson, Isabella Pryor, Alec Pryor, Celeste Dieringer, Daphne Dieringer; and great-grandchildren Ava Lee and Bella Lee. She was preceded in death by infant brother Ernest Migliara and granddaughters Stephanie Adams Lee and Bridget Dieringer.

Funeral arrangements are with Woodfin Funeral Home in Murfreesboro. Funeral service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at 11 o’clock A.M. on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, with reception following. A private family burial and commitment ceremony will be held at Calvary Cemetery at 11 o’clock A.M. on Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Memphis, Tennessee. She will rest in peace beside her husband and parents.

Mama truly comprehended and nurtured the preciousness of life, and will be forever loved, remembered, cherished, and missed dearly.

Eternal rest granted to her, O Lord. May perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

An online guestbook for the Pryor family is available at Woodfin Memorial Chapel. (615) 893-5151.


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