Claire Ann Biggam McQueeny, 77
Claire Ann Biggam McQueeny, 77 passed away peacefully at her High Street, Block Island home on February 5th , after a brief illness. The funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. at Saint Andrew Church, Chapel Street, on Wednesday, Feb. 12. She will be buried following the service next to her infant daughter Margery in the Island Cemetery, a celebration of her life will follow at Kimberly's.
Claire was born on October 9th 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, and lived most of her formative years in suburban Bannockburn, Illinois. She graduated from the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, Lake Forest, Illinois in 1960. Claire attended Newton College of the Sacred Heart where she met her future husband Stephen McQueeny, who attended nearby Holy Cross College. Claire and Steve were married on Jan. 4 1964 at Holy Cross Church Deerfield, Illinois. They were married for 56 years.
They raised their family, Molly, Michael and Ryan in Steve's home Village of Briarcliff Manor, New York, where Claire finished her Bachelor of Arts degree at Briarcliff College in 1976.
She was a member of the Junior League of Westchester-on-Hudson, a volunteer at the Ossining Senior Center, and a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Briarcliff Volunteer Fire Department.
Claire turned out to be a natural entrepreneur, excelling at running The Sheffield House B&B for 20 years on Block Island, which the family purchased in 1983. Upon moving full time to the island in 1987, Claire started and ran additional businesses: Block Island Linen Service and Block Island Baby Service. Claire had a lifetime interest in floral arrangement and worked in a number of floral shops over the years, culminating with establishing Block Island Wedding Flowers where for years she created wedding arrangements for hundreds of island brides.
Claire had a keen interest in her adopted community. She was a member and past President of the Saint Andrew's Catholic Ladies Guild. She served many years on the Historic District Commission several years as Chair, where she was fond of saying, “Our best work is what you don't see” as President of the Tourism Council for years and her main love: running the Lunch Bunch for Senior citizens for many years.
She loved frolicking with her grandchildren, crossword puzzles, and playing bridge, watching Jeopardy and living in this small island community for the second half of her life.
Claire was proceeded by her mother Ethel Sandeen Biggam, her father Charles Morrison Biggam Jr, her brother Charles Morrison Biggam II and her daughter Margery Morrison McQueeny. She is survived by her husband Steve, her brothers Larry of Aptos, California and Pat of East Montpelier, Vermont, her children Molly, and her husband Chris O'Neill, Mike and his wife Alicja McQueeny, both of Block Island and daughter Ryan McQueeny of Marana, Arizona, six grand children who adored her as “Mimi”; Grace of Boston, Tadhg, and Moira O'Neill of Block Island, Pvt. “Mikey” Tolbert of the United States Army, and Maia and Zoe McQueeny of Block Island.
Claire was the world's greatest grandmother and will be greatly missed. Although flowers were her special interest, donations to The Mary 'D' Fund, the Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department or Hope Hospice would be appreciated.