Podgurski, Claire D. of Powhatan, Virginia, passed away on November 11, 2010. Claire was born on July 3rd, 1927 during a snowstorm in the Adirondack town of Newton Falls, to the late Emmett and Gertrude Hodge of Newton Falls. Upon graduation from high school, Claire joined the USO and helped entertain our troops during WWII.
Her beautiful voice led her to many military functions and she sang with the Tommy Dorsey Band while stationed in Florida. She enrolled in nursing school after the war and then attended Potsdam State College in where she met her future husband Charlie (Chuck) who was attending Clarkson College at the time.
She was an avid skier, gifted vocalist, piano player, and took lead roles in civic fund raisers. Claire and Charlie married in April, 1949 and moved to Jersey City, NJ in the summer of 1949. Shortly thereafter, their first child, Chuck, was born. The growing family moved to Bergenfield, NJ and sister Gayle (Jill) joined the group in 1952! They moved to Ridgewood, NJ in 1955 and sister Carol Anne was welcomed to the family in 1956.
Claire and Charlie remained in Ridgewood for 45 years. Claire immersed herself into all aspects of community activities and was a member of the PTO, Catholic Daughters of America, and the YWCA. She campaigned for local politicians, modeled at department stores, coached junior high cheerleading, and along with her husband, formed the girl’s softball program in Ridgewood that has seen many thousands pass through over the years. If that wasn’t enough, she was an outstanding cook and always had an ear and tender heart for any and all. Her door was always open 24 hours a day to the youth of her beloved Ridgewood.
She was predeceased by her daughter, Carol Anne in 2004; her husband of 56 years, Charlie, in 2005; as well as her sisters, Lois Farrar of Silver Spring, MD, and Sandy Reed of Newton Falls.
She is survived by her son, Chuck and his wife Shelly of Glen Allen, VA; her daughter, Gayle (Jill) of Ashland, VA; three grandchildren, Janina Kirksey and husband Marc of Wilmington, NC, Dana Podgurski of Richmond, VA, and Marshall Podgurski of Glen Allen, VA; as well as one granddaughter, Sidney Luelle Kirksey.
The family will receive friends on (December 3, 2010) from 7 -9 p.m. at the Philips Memorial Home in Massena, and she will be laid to rest after a service in St. Mary’s Church in Massena on Dec. 4, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery.
At the family's request contributions can be made to: Special Love (children with cancer) 117 Youth Development Ct. Winchester, VA 22602 www.specialove.org.
Online condolences may be made towww.phillipsmemorial.com