Claire Anne (Kirkman) Brown, 85 of Cranford, NJ, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. She was born in Elizabeth, NJ in 1937, and was a lifelong resident of Cranford Township. After a life-threatening battle with breast cancer in 1995, Claire decided to take her difficult experience and turn it into something positive to help others. She became a lifelong volunteer for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life and Bark For Life events, even winning the ACS Eternal Flame Award at Relay For Life of Clark in 2009. She counseled and mentored newly diagnosed cancer patients over the years and was as a co-facilitator for Insight Cancer Support Group. Over the years, Claire suffered other physical challenges, but would always bounce back by working through her weakness with physical therapy, and became a student of Chair Yoga at Alluem Yoga, which she practiced regularly.
After graduating Cranford High School in 1955, Claire worked as an executive secretary forTexaco, before she gave up her career in 1962 to wed William F. Brown, Jr. With him, she had two daughters, Ruthanne Brown and Lisa K. Brown. Later on, to help support her daughters artistic aspirations, she got a new job and was employed by Motion Sensors Inc., Cranford, until she retired in 1996.
Claire was a special kind of person: patient, kind, non-judgmental. She was the "class mother" that all the other children wanted to be around. She loved humans and animals alike (cats and birds especially). She inspired those she met with her quiet, determined strength and resolve. To many people, she was a shining star, who was loved by nearly everyone who ever met her. When she was young, she loved taking trips to the Jersey Shore to be close to the ocean. She also frequented jazz clubs in the late 1950's and '60s. After settling down, she enjoyed vacationing in Maine with her in-laws, and many friends, who were like extended family.
Claire was pre-deceased by her parents Randolph Mendell Kirkman, and Anna McDowell Kirkman. She is survived by her husband, two daughters, as well as her brother Kent R.Kirkman, her granddaughter Sarah A. Barnes, and her cousins, nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please honor Claire's wishes by making a donation to the American Cancer Society through her Bark For Life website: www.main.acsevents.org/goto/BarkAway.
Claire's visitation will be on Monday June 6th, from 4:00-8:00PM, at Gray Memorial Funeral Home, 12 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, where her funeral service will begin at 11:00AM Tuesday June 7, 2022. Interment will follow in Rosedale Memorial Park in Linden. Please go to: www.grayfuneralhomes.com to offer condolences.