Claire Lynne Kaczmarcyk died peacefully at her home in Easthampton, Massachusetts, on June 30, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. Claire was born in Torrington, Connecticut, on August 1, 1957, to Elizabeth (Amrich) and Edward J. Kaczmarcyk, Sr. She graduated from Torrington High School and received a B.S. in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After graduation, she relocated permanently to western Massachusetts, settling first in Northampton and then spending the last 20 years of her life as a resident of Easthampton.
Claire worked as Project Coordinator for R.M. Hursh, a retail store construction contractor, for more than 20 years. Although the business closed in 2009, owner Bob Hursh and Claire remained life-long friends. Claire later held bookkeeping and administrative positions at various small local businesses, most recently at Summit Landscaping. Detail oriented and a problem solver, Claire always looked for ways to make whatever business she worked for better.
Claire was a talented seamstress with a flair for making any outfit memorable, but she was happiest when called upon to do a simple hem or make a new pair of curtains for a family member. She was an avid reader and loved cooking and baking, eagerly sharing recipes with family and friends. She gardened and looked forward each year to the arrival of the spring seed catalogs and to her summer outings at local farmers’ markets and farm stands. Claire also nurtured many houseplants, including some that were decades old.
Claire traveled whenever she had the opportunity, enjoying 30 years of holiday gatherings in New York and Connecticut with her sisters, as well as trips to Washington, California, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Her favorite memories were of trips she made to Europe--especially Paris--with her partner, Peter Davies.
Claire had an in interest in Eastern medicine and herbal remedies, learning as much as possible to augment and support her Western medical treatment. She was a regular at Tai Chi classes led by her teacher, Makani, at the Northampton Athletic Club, where she made many lasting friendships. A swimmer from an early age, Claire enjoyed her daily summertime swim at the pool of her good friend Mick. She also had a world-class penguin collection.
Calm, patient, and loyal, Claire loved her family and was a good listener, happy to hear the details of whatever was on your mind. She was always ready to take on a challenge. To get a landscaping position, she learned how to run heavy equipment, and she convinced her father to give her a job pumping gas at his service station--the first and only woman he ever hired for that position. Whatever she did, Claire preferred to work behind the scenes--helping with the gravy at Thanksgiving, volunteering at the soup kitchen, pitching in to clean-up, or checking up on an elderly neighbor.
Claire is survived by her longtime partner Peter Davies, his daughter Kate Feld, and her husband Sean Feld of Lexington, Kentucky. She will also be sorely missed by her eight siblings and their partners: Edward Kaczmarcyk, Jr., Elizabeth Kaczmarcyk and Peter Avenia, Karen Kaczmarcyk and Alex Poletsky, Janet Buckley, Thomas Alexander, Diane Kaczmarcyk and Karl Stevens, Deborah Cronin, and Jennifer and Michael Parsons. Several aunts and cousins also survive Claire.
There will be no public service at this time. The family will plan a celebration of Claire’s life sometime in the future. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in honor of Claire Kaczmarcyk may be sent to Cooley Dickinson VNA and Hospice, P.O. Box 329, Northampton MA 01061-0329.
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Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice
168 Industrial Drive, Northampton MA 01060