June 16, 1944 – July 1, 2023
On July 1, 2023, Claire Ellen Joseph passed away from dementia at the age of 79. Claire was born in Boston, MA, June 16, 1944 to John “Duke” Joseph DeLoughrey and Elizabeth “Liz” Anne DeLoughrey. Claire graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School, where she was a cheerleader in Brockton, MA in 1962 and attended Bridgewater State University for a minute before working at Liberty Mutual in Boston. In 1971, she married Army Captain Paul Joseph (now retired Colonel) of Norwell, MA. This is an often told story, but they met at the old Bunratty’s in Brookline (check out Dirty Old Boston on Facebook and search for “Bunratty’s” and you will get why this story stuck), where Paul later told their children that he met their mother dancing in a cage. Yes, they met there, but Claire wasn’t a go-go dancer, and she wasn’t in a cage, something her children found out only a few years ago. They were married for over 52 years. Claire was a devoted “military” wife who made homes far away from her beloved hometown of Stoughton, MA in Indiana, Maine, Peru (twice!), Missouri, New York, Panama (twice!), and Virginia. Claire was well traveled and after years spent in South and Central America; she spoke Spanish fluently, albeit with a Boston accent. She was a caring mother to three children, a fun and silly “Nana” to eight grandchildren, and a diligent treat provider to any cat that came across her path; her favorite strays were a couple of fat cats she named Ben and Jerry who visited her for daily meals for years. She had a soft spot for her many furry grandbabies and would eagerly volunteer to take care of them when their parents were away; she was partial to Hunter, John’s German Short Haired Pointer; Kiwi, Laura’s cat; Babalu, Julie’s GSP; and of course Socks, her dad’s cat. Claire is survived by her husband, Paul, and three children, Julie White (Burt) of Charlotte, NC, Laura Joseph of Chester, VA, and John Joseph (Leia) of Cheverly, MD. She had eight grandchildren: Morgan, Taylor, Dylan, Olivia, Jack, Knox, Grace, and Caroline. Claire is also survived by her siblings, Thomas DeLoughrey (Joyce), Patricia Chitvanni (Gino), and James DeLoughrey (Gerry). She was predeceased by her brother, John “Jack” DeLoughrey, Jr. (Pat). Given that her own extended family was large, and she married into an even larger Joseph family, Claire is survived by many sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephews. She was godmother to Susan Musto, Sarah Mattaliano, and Mark Joseph. Claire leaves behind her early 2000s-era Samsung Galaxy flip phone, which is likely still in mint condition because she rarely used it, as well as a large rock collection curated from her travels around the world, and a treasure trove of beanie babies that she refused to sell on eBay because she thought the grandkids would want them. The grandkids had moved on to Webkinz, Shopkins, American Girl dolls, Dude Perfect paraphernalia, and Squishmallows – sorry Nana! Claire became affectionately known as “Claire Bear” because she was so kind and easy-going and reminded people of those “Care Bear” stuffies that were popular in the 1980s. Her home in Chester, VA was a favorite hangout place for her children’s friends. She loved to cook; her signature dish was spaghetti with clam sauce, which often slid right off the plate onto the floor when Laura would carry the dishes to the table. She also loved to clip coupons back when that was a thing, and she liked nothing more than to run out and get Arby’s roast beef sandwiches for dinner when she found a meal deal coupon because the sandwiches so reminded her of Mur-mac’s Roast Beef, which was a favorite place across the street from her childhood home. Claire was fond of using the oven as a storage cabinet, which made for some close calls with things catching on fire. She liked her coffee scalding hot from Dunkin’ Donuts, although later in life she acquiesced and would drink Krispy Kreme coffee if she had to – it’s a southern thing. She loved visiting her family and friends back in MA; her favorite destination was anywhere her siblings were and Cape Cod, MA. She drove to countless baseball practices and games, as well as soccer, basketball, track, and swim events in her infamous Dodge minivan which was totaled by one of her kids (thank goodness because we were all tired of that van!) and later in her signature green Honda. Fueled by coffee and donuts, she did it all. After making Chester, Virginia her home for the second and final time in 1993, she worked at the Ft. Lee Post Exchange and Commissary until 2019. She was the master of end caps and perfume demos and was adored by all her co-workers because she was kind and generous and because she would readily pick up anyone else’s shift whenever they asked. In her free time, Claire loved staying up all night watching crime dramas, feeding the birds in her backyard, and making notes and little stories about what the clouds were shaped like. Words cannot express the devastation dementia caused Claire and how much she will be missed.
A celebration of Claire’s life will take place on July 18, 2023, at the Chester Chapel of J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home, 3050 W. Hundred Road, Chester, VA, with a visitation from 9am to 11am, immediately followed by a memorial service in the funeral home’s chapel. Inurnment of Claire’s remains will take place at West Point Cemetery Columbarium at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY at a later date.
The family would like to thank Dr. Marc Flickinger and the entire staff at the Bon Secours Community Home Hospice for the comfort and care they provided to Claire and our family at a most difficult time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Hopewell Humane Society, an organization Claire was fond of. Should donations not be your thing, search out a heart shaped rock and put it somewhere special in Claire’s memory.