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Born: Jan 10, 1932
Date of Passing: Oct 03, 2019Offer Condolences or Memory
January 10, 1932 - October 3, 2019
In addition to her husband and daughters, Judy (Claude), Robin (Dave) and Leslie, she is survived by her six grandchildren, Simon, Christopher, Gabriel, Alex (Corey), Patrick and Ian; her sister Judy Stratford (Tom); her nieces, Kendall, Susan and Christine; her sister-in-law Peggy Reel (Ranjit); and her nephew John.
Claire was a vivacious, creative, bright woman with a love for learning who led a life rich with family, friendships and travel.
Claire lived her entire life in Winnipeg. She was born on January 10, 1932 to Norman and Beulah Woodcock and grew up in the Riverview neighbourhood with her younger sister Judy. Gerry, her future husband, also grew up in Riverview and, according to family lore, they first met as infants while being pushed by their mothers in baby prams.
Claire attended Riverview School, Lord Roberts School and Kelvin High School and then pursued studies at the Faculty of Agriculture and Home Economics at the University of Manitoba, where she graduated in 1953 with a B.Sc.(H.Ec.). She was always at or near the top of her class and was graduating class valedictorian at Kelvin High and again at the University of Manitoba. Claire loved university life and participated in student government as the President of the Women's Association.
When Claire graduated there was no employment available in Winnipeg in her chosen field. She might have gone elsewhere but she did not want to leave her childhood sweetheart, Gerry, who was then a student at the University of Manitoba Law Faculty. Consequently she worked as an accounting clerk at the Winnipeg offices of the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company until, three years later, the university offered her a position as a lecturer in textiles. She accepted the offer with alacrity!
Claire and Gerry were married in 1954 and she became a full time parent and homemaker a few years later with the arrival of their daughters. When she felt the girls were old enough she returned to the University of Manitoba, this time to the Faculty of Education, graduating in 1976 with a Permanent Professional Certificate. She taught grade one in the Saint Boniface School Division for a few years and then returned to the university to earn a B.Ed. in Special Education. Following graduation Claire worked as a resource teacher in the St. James School Division and the St. Vital School Division until her retirement in 1991. In retirement Claire continued to demonstrate that it was never too late to learn, attending classes at the University of Winnipeg 55 Plus Program and reading voraciously. She also practised Tai Chi and went regularly to the Reh Fit Centre.
Claire had a lifelong interest in clothing, textiles, colour and design - sewing elegant outfits and gowns for herself and adorable (often matching) outfits for her three girls, knitting elaborate sweaters and afghans, and designing quilts and other pieces of fabric art. She was known to family and friends for her vibrant colour sense reflected in her home decor and her extensive rooster collection.
She enjoyed theatre, music and art, and along with Gerry, regularly attended the Prairie Theatre Exchange, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. She and Gerry also travelled extensively. A recent highlight was a trip to Iceland in 2017, the birthplace of Claire's maternal grandparents, with Gerry and her three girls.
Her favourite place in the world was the family cottage at Victoria Beach where she spent time every summer of her life. Some of our fondest memories of Claire are the cottage times: hikes and bike rides, lively gatherings with family and friends, after dinner card games and board games, washing dishes while dancing to The Big Chill, and Claire wowing her grandchildren with her ability to complete the weekend crossword.
Claire's life was blessed with many close and cherished friends. She enjoyed good times with her bridge club (that did not play bridge) and the volleyball group (that did not play volleyball). The last few years of Claire's life were marked by dementia but she still found happiness in times with family and friends and was able to answer crossword clues right to the end.
A celebration of Claire's life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at the Pavilion in Assiniboine Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Claire's memory may be made to the charity of your choice.
Publish Date: Oct 19, 2019
A full obituary to follow with Celebration of Life details.
THOMSON "IN THE PARK"
Condolences may be sent to
Publish Date: Oct 8, 2019
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 08, 2019, Oct 19, 2019
Condolences & Memories (8 entries)
Claire was briefly in my life at Lavallee School when I was a counsellor there. I also often saw her in the summers at Victoria Beach. She was such a bright, caring lady. It was a shock to read of her death - because I had been out of touch with her and Gerry for quite a while. My hope is that the family will remember her beauty, determination and caring nature - to keep her spirit alive in your hearts and give you comfort. Sincerely, Joan Baragar - Posted by: Joan Baragar (friend and co-worker) on: Nov 06, 2019
Condolences Judy, Robin and Leslie on the loss of your mom. So many lovely memories of her from my childhood, the very first on Birch Bay. I remember when Leslie was a babe in arms and going to see the new baby. What a wonderful lady she was. Judy, I remember her excitement for us girls when we went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the concert hall all those years ago. We dressed up, she made us a wonderful, special dinner and off we went amid refrains from the album playing in your home. She was so interested and supportive. She was a great lady who has left warm memories for so many. - Posted by: Deb Shnider (Howie) (School friend and neighbour) on: Oct 20, 2019
Gerry, Judy, Robin, Leslie, and families, I first knew Claire as the elegant and skilled Resource Teacher at Wyatt, and was constantly intrigued by those sweaters, as well as by her easy laugh, charm, perfect manners, intelligence and quick wit. I’ll miss seeing her at the beach, and remember her fondly. My thoughts are with you in this sad time. - Posted by: Pat Harman (Colleague and neighbour) on: Oct 19, 2019
Gerry Jewers , Judy, Robin , Leslie & families. Our sincere condolences are with you at this time. Claire had some wonderful stories. She always was so cheerful and fun to be around.Peter recalls so many wonderful times at Victoria beach.She will be missed. Peter & Janice Jones - Posted by: peter & janice jones (cousins) on: Oct 18, 2019
Claire was naturally beautiful and as she aged she looked even unbelievable. Her hosting of our class reunion buffets at her home was intimate, tasteful, and so seemingly easy. Just her special being Claire. My condolences to Jerry and family and bless you all. Your memories will surely have many good stories about how unique and special was your Mum......moo - Posted by: Marge Olsen Olson (classmate, Home Ec, 1953) on: Oct 11, 2019
I am very sorry to learn of Claire's passing and please extend my condolences to Gerry and your girls. I have warm memories of our years as neighbours. Carl Fudge - Posted by: Carl Fudge (former neighbour) on: Oct 09, 2019
Very sorry to hear of the loss of Claire, who we remember fondly. Our condolences during this sad time. Mary & Dennis Ringstrom - Posted by: Dennis & Mary Ringstrom (friend) on: Oct 09, 2019
So sorry for your loss, Gerry. My sincere condolences go to you and your family. Chic Seabrook - Posted by: Chic Seabrook (biz) on: Oct 08, 2019
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