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Claire Bernard, 93

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - Claire J. Bernard, 93, residing at Sweetwood in Williamstown, died October 15, 2019, after a sudden illness.

Long a resident of Williamstown - her husband, Walter Bernard, was a research scientist at Sprague Electric and for 50 years they lived on Bee Hill Road - Claire was a teacher, writer, and librarian. For 18 years she taught fifth and sixth grades at Williamstown Elementary School. In the 1970s, with a grant from the Massachusetts Council for the Arts, she developed a model elementary school curriculum for teaching creative writing.

Born Claire Laflamme (daughter of Ernest and Yvonne Laflamme) on January 24, 1926, in Manchester, N.H., she attended Mount Saint Mary College, where she studied chemistry and biology and worked as a laboratory technician. After World War II, she and her high-school sweetheart, ex-GI Walter Bernard, were married and moved first to Portsmouth, N.H. (where he got a degree at UNH and she worked in the university library); later, while Walter earned a PhD from MIT, they lived in Cambridge, Mass. Moving to Williamstown in 1954, they raised four children and were active in local and national Democratic Party politics.

Upon Walter's death in 2016, Claire moved into Sweetwood, an independent living residence, where she served as community librarian and was often seen walking her beloved grey cat, Minou, on a leash.

Claire is survived by her four children, Jonathan Bernard of Seattle, Wash., Lisa Bernard of Williamstown (spouse Dan Campbell), April Bernard of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Joel Bernard of Pittsburgh, Pa. (spouse Mia); and by four grandchildren, Nina Bernard, Alexandra Bernard, Henry Robinson, and Jack Campbell.

Funeral notice: Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the David & Joyce Milne Public Library (1095 Main St., Williamstown, MA, 01267) Flynn & Dagnoli Funeral Home are in care of arrangements.

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I had the pleasure of knowing Claire as she was a close friend of my grandmother, Mary (McCann) Bohl. My mother, Paula Godfrey, and I would enjoy our visits with Claire. Unfortunately, we didn't visit as often after my relocated from the area. I'm saddened to read of Claire's passing. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to all of her loved ones. Claire was an amazing woman, and I'll always smile thinking of our visits - especially how Claire would share that I reminded her of Jake Gyllenhaal. My deepest condolences and love - Andrew Briggs
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