Claire M. Bourque
Claire M. Bourque Claire M. Bourque passed away peacefully on May 12, 2020, six days after her 87th birthday, with her three daughters by her side. She was a proud resident of the Granite State for most of her life, before moving to Longmeadow, MA in 2013. Claire was born in 1933 in Nashua, NH to Germaine (nee Breault) and Emery Bourassa. Valedictorian of St. Aloysius High School in Nashua, she earned a full scholarship to attend Notre Dame College in Manchester, NH, where she also graduated as valedictorian. While at Notre Dame, she met and subsequently married her best friend and the love of her life, Peter J. Bourque, who had a distinguished career in law. They shared 52 years together in Manchester and Rye Beach, NH before his death in 2009. While living in Manchester, Claire was a communicant of St. Catherine Church. A fervent fan of the New York Times and the New Yorker, and an avid reader of literature, Claire also loved visiting museums all over the world – in particular The Morgan Library & Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Her penchant for adventure and learning about new cultures brought her all over Europe, where she loved to explore with her daughters and friends. Throughout her life Claire’s interests were vast and varied, including gardening, political campaign work, placing $1 bets on the Kentucky Derby every year, volunteering, and education, which became the cornerstone of her life’s work. Claire began her career as executive assistant to the base commander of Grenier Air Force Base in Manchester and later worked at the NH Housing and Urban Development office. Her passion for education, first sparked when she volunteered as an English as a Second Language instructor, turned into her profession when she began teaching at Hesser College in Manchester. She then returned to her alma mater, Notre Dame College, where she served for many years as executive assistant to the president. Upon her retirement she was elected to the College’s Board of Trustees and in 1997 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. What will most be cherished by her family was Claire’s gift of boundless and profound love, and the memory of her sparkling blue eyes. Her three daughters and their husbands, Kathleen Bourque and Michael Suzor of Longmeadow, MA, Mary Bourque and Don Bovers of Mequon, WI, and Amy Bourque and Tony Correia of Mount Kisco, NY, have been blessed recipients of her love, kindness, caring, unquestioned support, witty conversations, and wisdom over so many incredible years. Claire’s four grandsons, Timothy and Matthew Suzor and Peter and Chris Correia, and four grand-Labrador Retrievers, experienced truly unconditional love from their “Mimi” and she will forever reside in their hearts. Claire also leaves behind her sister-in-law, Nancy Fitzpatrick, as well as several nieces, nephews, and dear friends. In addition to her husband, Peter, and her parents, Claire was predeceased by her four siblings: Emery Bourassa, Dolores Stanley, Constance Bureau and Claudette Giddings. Her years in Longmeadow, MA, brought many new friendships for Claire, starting at Glenmeadow where she earned the nickname “Claire with the Hair,” in tribute to her beautiful hair. Her daughters would like to thank the caregivers and staff at Ruth’s House, who became like family, filling Claire’s days with love, compassion, and Kit Kats. We are also profoundly grateful to Katie Cullina, Claire’s wonderful friend and caregiver during her final months, whose gifts of joy and love kept Claire’s ringing laughter alive. A celebration of Claire’s life will be held in NH at a later date to be determined. The West Springfield Curran-Jones Funeral Home is handling all arrangements. For online condolences please visit curranjones.com.