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Clara Ann Skrnich Cosmich

The eldest daughter, Clara Skrnich Cosmich was born to John and Antonia Skrnich, in 1912 in Biloxi. Her parents had immigrated from Milna, Island of Brac, Yugoslavia and settled in the Point Cadet area of Biloxi, found employment in the seafood industry and began their family.

As many children in the area in the 1920s, Clara left school in the 3rd grade to work in the factories to help the family with finances. She knew what was required and was diligent in her work picking shrimp, shucking oysters, picking crabs and taking on any task as needed. She made her own aprons with her agile fingers, often having to alum to close the wounds on them from the frequent pricks by the seafood.

In 1934, Clara married another learned fisherman, John “Captain Bill” Cosmich. She continued her work in the factories while raising their two children, John Jr. and Patricia. She would wake in the predawn hours to the factory whistles and work for several hours, return home to ready the children and bring them to school, then return to her work.

Dedicated to her faith and heritage, Clara was a lifelong member of St. Michael Catholic Church and the Slavic Benevolent Society’s Ladies Auxiliary.

More than fifty years were dedicated to the seafood industry, by Clara’s own work and in her support of her fisherman husband, Captain Bill. Her contributions to the Biloxi Gulf Coast are recognized by her being honored in the Heritage Hall of Fame.


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