Claudia Marie (Howe) Harding, 66, of Gales Ferry, CT, passed away peacefully in the presence of her family members on Sunday, November 13th at the L&M Hospice Center. A longtime resident of the Worcester, MA area before moving to Gales Ferry in 1981, Claudia was married to and beloved by her husband, David K. Harding, for over 45 years. She was the eldest daughter of the late George and Estelle (Dylewicz) Howe of Worcester.
As a Worcester South High School student and cheerleader in the 1960’s, Claudia was well-known for her long red hair, contagious and impish smile, and her enthusiastic involvement in cheerleading as well as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Catholic Youth Council, and numerous other civic groups.
Claudia graduated in 1972 Magna Cum Laude from the College of New Rochelle in just 3.5 years, and worked as a substitute high school teacher for many local Connecticut schools.
But Claudia’s primary efforts were those centered upon the care and loving of her family members and the countless friends she made wherever she went. She was famous for her impeccable taste in fashion, which was always complemented by eclectic combinations of jewelry and her famous designer hats over her long, red ponytail. When she left her home each day, Claudia was exquisitely dressed for the post office, drug store, or a black tie affair. She enjoyed traveling, especially to New York City to over 40 Broadway shows, as well as frequent visits to Hampton Beach, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Nashville, and Key West.
Her dress and outer beauty, coupled with her outgoing personality, warmth, and genuine care for everyone she met made her unforgettable. She in turn never forgot anyone she met and always maintained a sincere interest in each person’s issues. This genuine warmth was complemented by her legendary culinary and baking skills for those lucky enough to partake in her meals and desserts.
Claudia leaves her daughter, Dr. Shannon Harding of Fairfield, CT, and her son, David K. Harding II of Estero, FL; her sisters, Elizabeth Howe, and Martha Dolan, wife of Kevin, of Worcester; her sisters-in-law Carol Parenteau of Webster, Beth Kempton and her husband Michael of Martin, TN, Lynn Harding-Smith and her fiancé Rick McGrail of West Boylston, and Kim, wife of the late Mark Harding, of Shirley; as well as her beloved Aunt Laurel Dell of Nyack, NY.
Claudia also leaves the pride and joy of her life: her cherished grandchildren: Alexis, Kyra, Cameron, and Kyle, to whom she was fondly known as “Dia”. Her nieces, nephews, and cousins, in whom she took much pride and loving interest, will also miss their visits with Auntie Claudia.
Family visitations will be at the O’CONNOR BROTHERS FUNERAL HOME, 592 Park Avenue, Worcester on Thursday from 4:00-7:00 pm. The memorial service and celebration of her life will take place on Friday at 10:00 am at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church, 1222 Main Street, Worcester, followed by a burial in Worcester County Memorial Park, Paxton. In lieu of flowers, donations in Claudia’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701.