Claire Perrault

Claire E. Perrault

August 24, 1929 - April 18, 2020
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BECKET. - Mrs. Claire Eleanor Perrault, 90, entered into Eternal Rest on April 18, 2020 at home in the loving presence of her daughter, Barbara, her caretaker of 27 years.

Claire was born on September 24,1929 in North Adams to Arthur Vasseur and Ida Dassatti. She was educated in North Adams schools and graduated from Drury High School in 1947.

In June of 1948, Claire married her soulmate, Bernard “Bucky” Perrault in North Adams. They shared nearly 46 years together, holding hands every day. Bucky passed away in December 1993. While the early years of their marriage were spent in North Adams and Brattleboro, VT, Bucky and Claire raised their children primarily in Dalton. They retired in the late 1980’s to a log home that Bucky helped build for them. It was lovingly named “The Nest.”

Claire devoted her life to being a homemaker. In her earlier years, she worked at St. Agnes Rectory, assisting wherever she was needed. She cultivated lasting friendships with the clergy she served. She also worked for Dr. Donald Fairbanks for several years as a receptionist/office manager. Claire was especially fond of the elderly patients. Her immense capacity for empathy and kindness knew no bounds, and she considered it part of her job description to send them home with happy feet, a sincere hug, and a big smile,

Claire worked beside her beloved Bucky for many years at The Village Print Shop in Dalton. Her roles were many: receptionist, bookkeeper, snow removal specialist, and social director. Claire and Bucky delighted in the spontaneous 10 AM “coffee hours” that developed nearly every day at the Print Shop. No matter how busy they were, Claire always extended her famous hospitality to anyone who came in the door. The aroma of fresh coffee and the joyful sound of Bucky’s melodic whistling were all a result of Claire’s loving presence. She was also a very talented window dresser. The front window at each VPS location was nothing short of an artistic masterpiece. In her later years, she donated her time to St. Agnes Church, serving briefly as a Eucharistic Minister and for 21 years as caretaker of alter linens. Her parish community brought her much comfort and joy.

Claire’s love and compassion touched every life that crossed her path. Her warmth and generosity extended to all corners of her existence. Humans, animals, plants—they all came away with something positive that they may not have possessed prior to contact with her. She extended the most loving hugs to all who entered her universe. Her gentle nature and glowing smile brightened not only her loved ones’ lives but also the multitude of perfect strangers she encountered along her journey. Anyone accompanying Claire to the supermarket knew to allow extra time at checkout for the inevitable: her finding that lonely person sitting on the waiting area bench. She performed the work of angels here on Earth.

Claire adored her family. Her kids’ lives gave her such pleasure. She “adopted” every friend each of us had and treated them as her own. She supported any endeavor we had and gave us the unconditional freedom to grow and learn from any mistakes we made along the way. She was our biggest cheerleader—and that included boisterous hollering at any ump who missed a call at her daughters’ Wahconah softball games. Claire cherished every moment spent with her kids, be it a gathering at her son’s house or a simple day trip with her daughters to a favorite spot.
She especially loved browsing for hours at several country General Stores—one of her all-time favorites being the Jenifer House in Great Barrington. She treasured her beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was a big deal for the little ones when Gram Claire came to the house. They were drawn to her radiant smile and basked in the warmth of her hugs.

Claire was a devoted lifelong fan of the Red Sox. For years, she kept her own scorebook. It was occasionally thrown at the radio when WEEI announcers brought her the news that somebody had been mean to her favorite player, Jason Varitek. It’s probably a good thing she was not at Fenway during some of those games.

Claire is survived by four children: Janet M. Perrault of Loudon, NH;
Bernard Kevin Perrault (and Linda) of Dalton, MA; Barbara A.Perrault, with whom she lived, of Becket, MA; and Carol A. Perrault-Wells (and Neil) of Lanesboro, MA; her brother, Robert Vasseur (and Carol) of Durham, NH; her grandchildren: Mark (and Carly), Jessica (and “T.”), Rebecca (and Ben); her great-grandchildren: Kayla, Jenna, Justin, Kyle, Brayden, Sierra, Christan, Cypress, Sadie, and Jason; nieces Patricia and Marybeth. She is also survived by sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.

Besides her husband and parents, Claire was predeceased by an infant son, Robert; stepfather, James Stevens; nephew, James Vasseur; and many dear friends, in particular, Mary & Edward Pilot, James & Nancy Belcher, and Rev. Daniel Foley.

Our mother’s greatest love was her precious Bucky. We believe the most valuable gift she ever gave to us was her profound devotion to her husband. They quietly showed the world what true love looked like on a daily basis. Holding Bucky’s hand sustained Mom like nothing else in this world. Though our hearts are broken, our spirits are inexpressibly lifted by the knowledge that she is now reunited with her soulmate and best friend. They are once again holding hands and their infant son on their Final Adventure. We love you Always & Forever, Mama Claire.

Our deepest appreciation is extended to our sister, Barb, who selflessly dedicated 27 years of her life to care for our mother full time. Barb’s unconditional loyalty enabled Mom to maintain the comfort of familiar routines in the peaceful serenity of her treasured home. Barb’s gentle love and immense patience gave Mom the strength to persevere. We called Mom our “St. Francis of Becket,” and Barb will continue their ritual of hand-feeding the chipmunks and chickadees. We are eternally grateful to Barb for her tremendous gift of faithful care to our beloved mother.

In keeping with Claire’s wishes, there will be no services, and burial will be private. A Memorial Mass will be held at a later date at St. Agnes Church. A Celebration of Life will be shared with family and friends in the future. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Agnes Memorial Fund, in care of DERY-FOLEY FUNERAL HOME, 890 E. Main St, Dalton, MA 01226.
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