Claire was born March 11, 1934 in Tewksbury, MA and died May 16, 2023 at her home in Jamaica Plain, MA, following a battle with cancer.
She grew up in Framingham, the adopted daughter of Ruth and Lowell Barden. At age 18, she joined the Army and served in Germany and France.
When she returned to the States, she settled in the Boston area and soon met the love of her life, Lois Johnson. They were together for 56 years, until Lois’s death in 2020.
Claire and Lois were a strong force in the gay and lesbian rights movement. For many years they were active in the Boston chapter of Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) which, in the 1970’s, was the only nationwide lesbian organization. They were also active in the LGBT Aging Project and had starring roles in Stu Maddux’s film Gen Silent.
A resident of the South End for over 40 years, Claire ran a successful professional picture framing business from her home. Her work was museum archival quality, and her clients included Julia Child. She later opened a B&B in the front room of their brownstone on Warren Avenue. Claire and Lois were also very involved in the creation and maintenance of the James Hayes Park next to their home.
Claire was a spiritual person, brought up in the Methodist faith. She loved opera, classical music, and the arts. She had a heart of gold, which was masked by a sharp tongue and bawdy humor.
After a small graveside service, Claire was laid to rest in Mount Auburn Cemetery next to her beloved Lois. She is survived by her half sister, Joan McDonald of New Hampshire; her niece, Barbara Takahashi and husband Sam; great nephew and great niece, Nick and Anna Takahashi, all of San Diego, CA.
Donations in her memory may be made to The Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk, ME (animalwelfaresociety.org), The Animal Rescue League of Boston (arlboston.org), or Laudholm Farm in Wells, ME (wellsreserve.org).