Claire Ann Alpaugh (McGarry), 84 of Dover, New Jersey passed away peacefully on July 1st, 2017 with her loving family at her bedside. Claire lived her life with a focus on love and kindness. Her bright eyes, broad smile and pleasant hello brightened the day of everyone she met. Anyone who knew Claire will remember her smile, friendly words, pleasant demeanor and love of songs. Claire always had a song on the tip of her tongue and impressed many a piano player with her near encyclopedic knowledge of song lyrics. She also loved a good limerick or pun. To know Claire was to love her. One of Claire’s lifelong tenants was that a kind word would always rule the day. In this past year, as her health declined, she always maintained a positive attitude and friendly outlook. We will miss you Claire (mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, friend, co-worker and all around special person).
Born in 1932, she grew up in the Pittston/Scranton area and graduated from St. John’s High School, Pittston, PA. Claire studied Biology and Mathematics at College Misericordia in Dallas, PA and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and her teachers certificate. In 1954, she began her teaching career in Hughestown, PA. Claire married Leo Alpaugh in 1956 after he returned from his service in the US Air Force. In 1961 Claire, Leo and their growing family, left NE Pennsylvania and moved to their home of 29 years in Dover, NJ.
Claire joined the teaching staff at Dover HS, initially teaching Biology, but later joining the Mathematics Department where her main stay courses were Algebra and Geometry. In addition to teaching, Claire was Class Advisor to several classes including the class of 1975 and supported the school plays. After retiring from Dover High School in 1990, Claire and Leo moved to the Sonata Bay community in Bayville, NJ. Claire was involved with the Painting Club, Sharps and Flats Singing Group and the Sonata Bay Players, a performing group that raised funds for charitable community needs. After Leo’s death in 1998, Claire left Sonata Bay and moved back to North Jersey, settling in at Fox Hills Estates in Rockaway, NJ. While at Fox Hills, Claire lead the Fox Hill Choral Group and participated in other clubs and activities.
She is survived by her five children: son Mark (Phyllis) of Mine Hill, son Thomas “Tim” (Jane) of Randolph, son Robert (Jacqueline) of Lafayette, son Michael (Teresa) of Mullica Hill, and daughter Mary Claire Klooster (Alan) of Cumming, GA, her fourteen grandchildren: Matthew (Rebecca), Laura, Christopher, Alexandra, Courtney (Andrew), Brandon (Meredith), Austin, Sarah, Claire, Kelley, Kyle, and Ryan Alpaugh, Michael and Sean Klooster and her two great grandchildren, Brayden and Colin Alpaugh.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, July 6th from 4 PM to 8 PM at the Bermingham Funeral Home, 216 S. Main St., Wharton, NJ. A funeral mass will be held at St. Mary’s Church in Wharton, NJ on Friday, July 7th at 10 AM. Interment will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery, Dover.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Mine Hill First Aid Squad 10 Baker St, Mine Hill, NJ 07803. Special thanks to the staff at Merry Heart Nursing Home in Roxbury, NJ. Claire would always greet them with a friendly smile and a warm hello and they reciprocated with gentle, compassionate and loving care.