Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Claire Davis

Claire (center) speaks with Ann (left) at June 2007 Party

June 4: Services are scheduled for Friday, June 6, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 2d and C Streets NE: 9:30 a.m. visitation, 10:30 a.m. funeral mass. Burial will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 1300 Bladensburg Rd NE (across from the National Arboretum).

June 3: We learned that Claire Davis died this morning at home with her sister and her daughter at her side. Claire had been in and out of hospitals several times in the past 6 months and recently returned home for hospice care.

Claire and her late husband Larry were from a great line of Capitol Hill eccentrics who predated the real estate boom of the 90s. Her husband Larry was the first male president of the Capitol Hill Garden Club (c. 1972) when husbands were solicited to help with the fall sales at Eastern Market of spring-flowering bulbs, the fundraiser devised to supplant all sorts of penny ante bake sales, rummage sales, etc.

Claire served as garden club president from 1998 to 2000.

Claire was originally from Iowa and eventually moved to San Francisco where she worked as a secretary. On a vacation to Arizona, she met Larry in a cocktail lounge when he asked her to dance. They danced the evening away, were married and moved to DC when Larry got a job with the Interior Department in the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Claire loved food, though she never seemed to eat much, and she was one of the club members who complained after the June party when everybody brought chicken (baked, roasted, fried, in casseroles, in salads). After that, the late Margaret MacGregor would take June party RSVPs inquiring hors d'ouevres, entree, side dish or dessert and often saying, "That's nice but we need a cole slaw" or "We already have chicken, we need a ham."

In the 1990s, Claire and Larry's backyard was featured on a garden club tour to show Larry's vegetable garden on the roof of their garage. The roof garden included tomatoes, sweet corn and cucumbers and was quite a sight to behold from the alley behind their home on A Street NE.

In the late 1990s, upon meeting a man who said he was a pianist, Claire said, "Well, you'll have to play for us." He said he would and this meeting led to a Sunday afternoon piano recital in the Davis home, with the pianist at the baby grand in the bay window and chairs lined up in the living room and dining room for overflowing guests, followed by a buffet supper and an evening in the Davis garden.

Claire will be remembered for her cheerful coping with her husband Larry as he increasingly suffered with Alzheimer's. Life seemingly continued as normal, with Claire and Larry shopping at Eastern Market, attending garden club meetings and events, attending mass at St. Joseph's and even wintering in Tuscon.

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