DURHAM – Claire Frances (Mahoney) Dugan, 84, died peacefully on May 11, 2018, surrounded by her beloved children. Her devoted husband of 63 years, Joseph Richard (Dick), predeceased her by only a few months. There is peace and grace in knowing they are now joyfully reunited.
Claire was born at home in Somerville, Massachusetts, on February 5, 1934, the youngest daughter to Mary (Cole) and John Mahoney. Soon after graduating Somerville High School in 1951, Claire met the handsome Dick, the love of her life. Claire often recalled that her heart skipped a beat when she first laid eyes on him, and that she married him because he made her laugh. She was a radiant, young bride. Claire and Dick went on to raise their five children in an old house in South Natick near the bank of the Charles River. In 1957 they lost their second child Andrea Louise to crib death, a heartbreak that remained with them all their lives.
Claire was a natural at motherhood and an expert at running a household, especially with Dick at her side. She and Dick worked tirelessly both inside and outside the home while raising their family. In her children she instilled the importance of education, a strong work ethic, and the importance of family. She is fondly remembered for amazing holiday meals, especially Christmas brunch with aunts, uncles and cousins. A master of a tight household budget, Claire skillfully ensured that Christmas was always special and that her family never missed a summer vacation at the beach.
Claire was a life-long and avid reader, a master knitter of gorgeous Irish-knit afghans and Fair Isle sweaters, and a joyful gardener whenever she had time in her rock garden.
Claire and Dick enjoyed twenty years of well-deserved retirement in Centerville on Cape Cod, fulfilling Claire’s life-long dream of living near the sea. They had a beautiful home where they often welcomed family and friends, old and new. Claire loved to walk the beach, volunteer at her beloved Centerville Library, travel, and participate in senior activities and with the Ladies Guild at her church, Our Lady of Victory. Claire recalled her years on the Cape as the favorite time of life. Later, she and Dick moved to Durham, North Carolina, to be closer to family.
Claire was lovely, both inside and out. She had a sense of adventure and loved parties, dancing, and laughing with family and friends. A life-long devout Catholic, Claire was a woman of deep faith who derived strength from God’s love and compassion.
Claire leaves behind five children: Martha and her husband Antonio Obando of West Hartford, Connecticut, Joe Dugan of Marlboro, Massachusetts, Marybeth Dugan and her husband Kenneth Dalsheimer, Peter Dugan, and Kelli Dugan and her husband John St. Clair, all of Durham, North Carolina. She also leaves nine grandchildren: Aura Obando and her husband Paul Easton, José and Thomas Obando; Samuel Dalsheimer, and his wife Alexandra, Elyson Dalsheimer and her fiancé Brian Schnautz, and Isaac Dalsheimer; and Ainsley, Jack, and Eliot St. Clair. Claire has two great grandchildren, Santiago and Nicolas Obando Easton. Claire loved and supported her children, sons-in-law, grandchildren, grandchildren-in-law, and great grandchildren, by celebrating their individual uniqueness, talents, and interests. She saw the light of God within each of them.
She also leaves behind her beloved and devoted sister Mary Kennedy of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Besides her husband Dick, Claire is predeceased by her brother and sister, John Mahoney and Deborah Smith, and by her dearest mother, Mary Mahoney.
The Dugan family would like to express appreciation for all those involved with the care given to Claire over the past year. This includes the caring staffs of August Estates and the Hock Family Pavilion of Duke Hospice. We wish to extend a special thank you to Don Stanger of the Holy Infant Outreach Ministry, who faithfully brought Communion whenever Claire was unable to get to church. Don’s presence in her life brought her great joy and comfort these past few years.
A mass of Christian burial will be held for Claire at Holy Infant Catholic Church on Tuesday, May 15th at 11:00am. A celebratory memorial mass to honor Claire and Dick will be held on June 16th at 11:30am at Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville, Massachusetts, followed by a reception. A private, joint burial will be at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in Claire’s name to the Barnstable Land Trust, 1540 Main Street, West Barnstable MA 02668.