Claire Eleanor Rivers

Claire Eleanor Rivers

Middlebury – Claire Eleanor Rivers, 73,  passed peacefully on January 18, 2020, at the Eastview at Middlebury. She grew up in a farming family in Ferrisburgh, Vermont to her predeceased parents, James Rivers and Bertha Briggs. She joins her predeceased twin sister Margaret Stanton and sister Mary Benoit. She is survived by her brother Jim Rivers, her stepson William and his wife Genevieve, her stepdaughter Judy, her step-grandchildren Raz and Lena, her nieces Amy and Laurie and nephews Jim and Rodney. 

Claire graduated from Vergennes Union High School in 1964.  She had a passion for the Arts and adored visiting museums and botanical gardens. She enjoyed attending musicals at the Flynn, and theatres throughout New England.  Claire also practiced yoga, and tai chi and stayed active cross country skiing, kayaking, fishing, ROMEO lunches, playing pool and loved spending time with friends. She was an avid journaler and recorded her daily thoughts along with her travel discoveries.  

She was employed at Simmonds Precision, where she began as a tech, soldering instrument control panels. She left Simmonds Precision with the “love of her life”, Pete Hansen to start a plumbing & heating company in Monkton, Vermont. With her caring love and attention to detail, she raised her stepson William and managed the business. Her dedication helped both to grow with her honest and intelligent nurture.  In the late eighties, she returned to  Simmonds Precision now to be known as Collins Aerospace. She handled sensitive design and manufacturing documents and was often dispatched to deliver all over the world. She was proud to have been a secret courier of classified files and to have had a government security clearance. She would always look over her shoulder whenever she spoke about those trips, and with the same integrity, she gave to all her pursuits, when pushed to tell more she said she wouldn’t.

Claire had an insatiable love of travel, and when she retired she set out to visit a least a couple of destinations each year. She made many trips with friends. Her last planned trip was to Iceland, her wish was to see the Aurora borealis from there. Unfortunately, she canceled that trip when she started to experience some changes in her cognition. Claire suffered from a debilitating disease known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy, it affected her brain causing hemorrhagic strokes that took her memory and her ability to communicate. She was so grateful to all her friends that traveled to visit with her while at UVM hospital, Fanny Allen Rehabilitation and finally at Eastview Residence. She expressed great gratitude for all the doctors, nurses and caregivers that gave her love and attention in these last years.  

Claire Eleanor Rivers aka Momma Sunshine has left the building!  Her gracious spirit, buoyant smile, and joyous laugh will be with us always.

We will celebrate her life with a funeral mass at St. Peters Church 85 S Maple St Vergennes 10 am on Thursday, February 20th, 2020. 

In Lieu of flowers, Claire wished that gifts be made to 

St. Peters Church, 85 S Maple St Vergennes 05491  

VARS Vergennes Area Rescue Squad 106 Panton Rd Vergennes 05491

Rokeby Museum 4434 RT 7, Ferrisburgh VT 05456.  

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Dominique St. Pierre
2 years ago

Most sincere condolences to Claire’s family. I worked with Claire at Simmonds Precision (predecessor to Collins Aerospace) during the sixties on NASA’s Apollo Program on a contract, awarded to Simmonds Precision, to produce the most complex propellant measurement System the company had ever built. Claire , as a certified NASA solderer , was the best person to recommend practical solutions to complex wiring harnesses problems in very limited space. What she did was a “work of art” that caused the engineers multiple times to change their design to Claire’s recommendations. May she rest in peace

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