Brattleboro- Clara Marie, “Claire” Lavender, 72 of Highland Street died Monday afternoon, July 9, 2018 in the comfort of her home, surrounded by her family following a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer.
Claire was born in Brattleboro on October 29, 1945 the daughter of Everett and Marjorie (Benjamin) Finnell. She was raised and educated in Hinsdale and was a graduate of Hinsdale High School, Class of 1963.
Claire had been employed for many years as an office administrator for Fleming Oil Company retiring in June of 2013. The company had been acquired by Dead River Oil just prior to her retirement. Previously she worked for Barrows Coal Company and the former BookPress in Brattleboro.
Very involved civically, Claire was active with United Way of Windham County, was a member of the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, held membership in the B.P.O. Elks, Brattleboro Lodge #1499 and the Brattleboro Elk’s Emblem Club, #517. For many years she chaired the annual Elk’s Club yard sale and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital yard sale held at the Elk’s Home on Putney Road.
She was the proud recipient of two prestigious service awards. In 2011 she received the Home Town Hero Award honoring 40 years of volunteerism and also received a Presidential Award for her many hours of service to her community.
A devout Catholic, Claire was active within the parish serving on the Saint Michael’s School Board, active with the Saint Michael’s High School Alumni Association and most recently was involved with the Saint Brigid’s Kitchen Renovation Committee.
She was a longtime communicant of Saint Michael’s Roman Catholic Church and a former parishioner of Saint Joseph’s Church in Hinsdale.
Claire’s life centered around her family and she especially enjoyed time spent with her five garndsons.
Claire was known for her spirit of friendship, pleasant personality and her generosity always willing to help anyone, or any organization in need. She was especially proud of her community.
On July 22, 1967 at Saint Joseph’s Church in Hinsdale she was married to Francis “Mike” Lavender who survives.
Besides her faithful and devoted husband of 50 years she leaves one daughter, Melissa McAuliffe and her husband Paul and their children, Christopher and Ryan, all of Brattleboro; one son, Michael Paul Lavender and his wife Cindy and their children, Austin, Brady and Alec all of Marblehead, MA; three brothers, Larry Finnell (Ellen) of Milford, CT, Michael Finnell (Diane) and Benjamin Finnell (Sheila) both of Keene; three sisters, Patricia “Pat” Finnell of Brattleboro, Sharon Ward (David) of Spofford and Linda Haskell (Douglas) of Merrimack, NH. She also leaves two in-laws, Brenda Finnell and Pam Williams.
Additionally, she leaves many cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews and her extended family on the Lavender/Blanchette side as well as a number of loving friends and neighbors.
She was predeceased by one brother, Ronald Finnell and her close friend, Suzi Hamblin.
The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday at 2:00 P.M. at Saint Michael’s Church with Fr. Justin Baker, pastor, celebrant. Committal Rites and burial will follow in Saint Michael’s Parish Cemetery.
Visiting hours will be held at Saint Michael’s Church on Thursday from 5 to 8 P.M.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Claire’s name may be made to St. Brigid’s Kitchen Renovation Fund, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301 or to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Oncology Department, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, VT 05301.