Claire R. Fitzgaireld
WILLOW, AK - Claire Rattey Fitzgaireld, 79, of Willow, died of natural causes March 22, 2014 at her home. A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, April 12th at 10 AM at St Christopher Catholic Church in Willow, AK. Father Andrew will be conducting. Following the Mass, at 11:30 AM there will be a Celebration of Life potluck for friends and family at the Willow Community Center.
Claire was born April 14, 1934 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She was born at home over the family Ice Cream Store. In 1956 she received a Bachelor of Education from the Rhode Island College of Education. In 1972 she earned her Masters of Education from the University of Anchorage Alaska. Claire became an Alaska resident in 1959 where she taught school in many areas. She was an elementary teacher in Kake, AK from 1959-60. She only taught a year due to having to hire bush plane in and out. She taught in Anchorage from 1960-1981 at the Willow Crest and Chinook Elementary Schools. She retired from teaching in 1981. Claire had been a resident of Willow since 1988 and was a member of St. Christopher Catholic Church in Willow.
Claire was active in the community serving with the Willow Area Community Organization as secretary Area Representative, the Willow Library Association Chair Person, Willow Fire Service Board, MEA Scholarship Committee and St. Christopher Board/Building Committee.
Claire loved being around people and made a positive impact on many many lives. She also enjoyed reading, traveling, cross stitch, crocheting, flower gardening, and mystery movies. Claire took two years off from teaching, traveling around the world twice, sometimes working to pay her way. In 1966 she married Joe Fitzgaireld. They enjoyed camping in their motor home. She will be greatly missed by those who knew her.
A most special thanks to Juanita Larson and Mat-Su Hospice for her end of life care.
Claire is survived by her stepchildren, Vic Fitzgaireld of Willow, AK and Beverly Spencer of Catoosa, OK; 3 sisters, Elaine Sokol of Berne, NY; Janet Surrette of Smithfield, RI; and Fran Leeming of Chepachet, RI; a brother; Bill Rattey of Turks & Caicos Islands; 10 nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband Joe in 1995; her parents, Wilfred and Rejane (Parent) Rattey. Claire will be interred at Fort Richardson National Cemetery next to her husband Joe at a later date.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Claire's name to Mat-Su Hospice or a charity of choice. Valley Funeral Home, Wasilla Chapel cared for arrangements.