Claire Spillane Wilfert, 82, of Charlotte, died peacefully surrounded by family on Tuesday, May 15 at Carolinas Medical Center. For the last four months she had courageously battled lymphoma and lung cancer, and died from complications of pneumonia.
Claire was born on December 6, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Maurice John Spillane and Laura Carmody Spillane. She attended Queens College, in Queens, New York, and then worked for New York Telephone. At the time, she was the youngest woman promoted to the position of Business Office Supervisor. Sixty years ago this March, a sorority sister of Claire's arranged a blind date, and Claire and John were together ever since. They were married in May 1954. After the birth of their first child, David, Claire became a full time homemaker. Their daughter, Laura, followed almost five years later. When John joined IBM, Claire was the first in her family to move away from the New York City area. After settling in Vestal, NY, and later Poughkeepsie, NY, she and John "went south" in 1980, moving to Charlotte.
In Charlotte Claire worked at MCI Corporation, and then for several years at Mecklenburg Furniture, retiring in 1995. Her life was devoted to her family, especially her five grandchildren. She was always there to cheer them on at school functions, recitals, and graduations. Some of her fondest memories were weeks spent at Holden Beach, when she could have her entire family under one roof. She and John traveled extensively, enjoying European river cruises in particular.
Claire was kind, thoughtful, gracious, and had a wonderful sense of humor, even during her illness. She was great at crossword puzzles, like her mother before her. She never complained, and was always optimistic. All who loved her will miss her terribly.
She is survived by John Wilfert, her devoted husband of 58 years; her daughter, Laura Wilfert Slesinger, and husband, Kris, of Charlotte; her son, David Wilfert, and wife, Amy, of Old Greenwich, CT; and her five grandchildren, Erica and Andrew Slesinger, and Kate, Julia and Emma Wilfert. She also leaves behind two sisters, Vivian Spillane McCarthy of Charlotte, and Linda Spillane Steinmetz, of Greenwood, SC. Claire was predeceased by her brother, John Spillane.
The family would like to thank Dr. Michael Livingston, and the nurses at Charlotte Hematology and Oncology, for their care of Claire these past few months. They are also grateful to the Pulmonary Critical Care Team and MICU nurses at CMC for their support during her hospital stay.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society, the Humane Society, or the charity of your choice.
A memorial service to celebrate Claire's life will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 11:00 am in the chapel of Harry and Bryant Company, 500 Providence Road. The family will receive guests following the ceremony.