We first got to know Clare as the lady in charge of the Bookshop at the Perth School of Philosophy, twenty years ago. Sitting behind tables displaying several titles, she exuded a peaceful quietude; however, she was extremely knowledgeable and could answer a lot of questions asked of her on the books being sold. Often when asked for advice, she would recommend a particular title read by her. Clare had a great memory which helped others working alongside her as she remembered details tracing books back to suppliers abroad and what they had cost including freight, etc.
Getting to know Clare better over the years was uplifting. She was a very good listener in spite of having hearing problems. It was a joy to be in her company and talk to her about Philosophy, the history of the School, travel, and life in general. She loved visiting us especially to sit back and watch travel pictures on a TV screen. Clare was also adventurous. In recent years she enjoyed going out with us and other members of the School for a ‘bite’ somewhere as also having visitors in her own home.
Clare, even in her nineties was a very positive lady. When asked how she was feeling she just stated the facts without the slightest hint of self-pity or negativity. She treasured her independence hugely. Just a few days before her passing, when we arranged to see her, she insisted on driving herself over to our home. We reminded her that she had visited us the last time so it was our turn now to visit her. That’s what we did two days before her ninety-fifth birthday. It was a gift for us to have spent an hour and fifteen minutes in her wonderful company. As always, she insisted on coming to the door to wave goodbye to us. Little did we realize that it would be the last goodbye.
Thank you dear Clare for enriching our lives!
I have fond memories of Clare who was teacher and friend to me for nearly 20 years. She had a most welcoming smile as you will see in the photos posted - all of which showed her smiling! Her mind remained sharp even when her body started to fail, and she had a great sense of humour to go with her extraordinary wisdom-which was aided by a very good memory. Rather like “Tuesdays with Morrie” I had “Sundays with Clare “ always with delicious cakes which she provided.
On the last occasion when I saw her she confessed that she had driven to a local shop to buy these - though she had been told she was not to drive! We liked the same literature and she kept me up to date with her home country by passing on “The Weekly” a magazine which was sent to her from the UK.
I will miss her greatly but I also believe that has moved on to another realm.
I have known dear Clare for many years and have always thought of her as a mother, my second mother.
A firm friend, down to earth, always ready to listen, always up front with the Truth, tempered with a marvellous sense of humour.
She was completely devoted to the School, in which she was a member for at least 50 years, to Sri Shantananda Sarasvati and to the teaching of Advaita that the School embodies.
Her loyalty, tenacity, generosity and care, her abiding interest in people and their welfare, in events, past, present and future, was a living, shining example of this devotion, this deep love.
I give thanks for all this wealth which she spread liberally around, as well as for the small things which are really large: the beautiful smile in her eyes with which she greeted everyone, the unzipping of the many zips in her faithful handbag to find that thing she had brought to give to someone, or her glasses or purse or car keys, all of which she would entrust you with at the drop of a hat; the provision of printouts, handouts, phone calls and emails if you had missed anything at School; the anniversary cards and birthday gifts, down to her determined clasp of the bannister down the steps to the tea room and her chair, with the cup of warm milk waiting on the table, next to the plate of biscuits.
I love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all this, Clare, and while I shall miss your much loved Clare form, I know in Truth, you have not gone anywhere, for the Self which is in all of us and is everywhere, never dies, never decays. It is eternal and You are always there.
Love from Lindsay.
They broke the mold when Clare was born. I knew Clare for the last 20 years of her life. She was a constant source of inspiration and example. Noble in presence yet humble in word and deed. Yet when she did speak it was always incisive and truthful.
At the School of Philosophy she was my tutor. I was her assistant tutor. When she felt the time was right she very tactfully “arranged “ for me to take the leap of faith and start tutoring. And thanks to her ‘push’ I’ve never looked back.
She was wise too. Very wise. Someone you could rely upon for sound advise ; whether it be family or relationship matters, spiritual guidance or simply which shade of paint or curtains to buy for a particular room.
She cared deeply about people and more often than not put the needs of others before her own.
Clare was well travelled and told many a tale of the many countries she had visited. I took particular delight in her adventures in the Caribbean. Batista was in his second reign of power in Cuba when she was there in 1958. And the growing political unrest in Jamaica during the 1960’s didn’t stop her ( albeit unknowingly at the time) walking through Trench Town ( an area of ‘certain death’ in Kingston) to attend a friend’s invite to church.
Clare had an eye for detail and well thought out procedure when it came to administration and purchasing. In charge of the School of Philosophy library for more than a decade these qualities came to the fore. Woe betide anyone who volunteered to run the book shop and failed to follow the prescribed procedure. I was one such ‘reject’ whose blasé regard for procedure didn’t live up to the required standard. I was told in very diplomatic terms that someone else had volunteered instead of me !
Clare’s energy was boundless . Even the Duracell Bunny on steroids would struggle to keep up ! She enjoyed all aspects of life and even in her final years she still drove herself around while maintaining her own home. Whatever life threw at her she accepted as her fate and the will of the Absolute. She was never afraid to face what had to be faced. Towards the end of her life when her body had become so weak to support her great spirit I heard her comment on several occasions with wry humour and a twinkle in her eye that …”old age isn’t for whimps !” Yet she ‘ hung in there ‘ with the tenacity of a limpet in a stormy sea.
The world has lost a great soul and a dignified lady. It was a privilege to know you Clare . Much love.