Claire Helen Mailloux Dutil left her family for her next journey on Thursday, July 7, 2022. She was determined to make it to age 87 and, by gosh, she did! Claire had declining health for about 10 years with a neuromuscular disease.\r\n Claire came into the world with great fanfare on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12, 1935. She was born at the old Thayer hospital on Main Street in Waterville to Henry and Anne Marie (Pelletier) Maillioux. Mother's Day in the United States was officially established the year before in 1934, so Claire's mother Anne Marie thought it was very special to have her 1st baby on the 2nd Mother's Day ever. Claire was the oldest of 3 girls.\r\n When Claire started school, she spoke very little English. She, her parents, and two sisters Colette and Theresa lived at 52 Edgemont Avenue with her father Henry's French-Canadian parents Charles and Marie (Royer) Mailloux. French was spoken at home as Claire's grandparents (her grandmother especially) understood and spoke little English. Claire attended North Grammar school which was on the corner of North and Pleasant Street. It was there that she learned to speak English. At 5 years old, she would walk the half mile to school (snow, rain, or shine,) down the big hill, past Ware Butler and she would walk back home for lunch. Her grandmother would always have a nice warm lunch ready for her. As soon as she was done, her grandmother would shoo Claire out the door for her to begin her trek back to school. Both of her parents were adamant that once she started school, they would only speak English to her at home. She often said, "they wanted me to thrive in school and knew that I needed to be fluent in English." Claire did thrive and quickly learned English. She had a happy childhood, playing with her sisters and many neighborhood friends. She loved school and although somewhat shy, she had many friends. She attended middle school on Pleasant Street which is currently the Hall school. She graduated from Waterville high which was located on Gilman Street in the class of 1953. In Claire's yearbook, dozens of her friends signed, "Claire, make sure you keep smiling that great smile that you have."\r\n As a child, Claire's family went to the coast often. They very much enjoyed Old Orchard Beach and Moose Point state park in Searsport. They would visit her maternal grandparents Patrick and Desneiges (Plante) Pelletier in Winslow and would occasionally visit the extended Pelletier relatives in the Lewiston area. Twice they made the 5-hour journey with a packed car full of people to St. Neree, QC to visit Royer relatives.\r\n Claire was a beautiful lady with a wonderful laugh and a beautiful smile. There are few words to describe the magnitude of this woman. Her fortitude, strength, and perseverance were immense. She was kind and generous and non-demanding. She was very strong willed and quite stubborn. She had immeasurable strength throughout her whole life right up until the end. Her stubbornness got her in trouble a couple of times with her health ... denying symptoms until it was almost too late. "I'm okay," she would stubbornly say over and over. Her doctor Julie Phelps would say, "Claire, you are like the energizer bunny. You amaze me and amaze your family every day." \r\n During high school, Claire worked at McClelland's Five and Dime on Main Street. After graduation she got a job at Montgomery Ward in the catalog department. Her next job was at Sterns Department store on Main Street in the credit office. She would often tell of how she loved working with money and numbers. She would proudly tell her family that she could solve bookkeeping discrepancies when no one else could. \r\n On May 12th in 1956, on her birthday, Claire married Joseph "Bob" Dutil of Winslow in Waterville at Sacred Heart church. Their reception was in the event room at the Waterville Sentinel where her father worked. When Claire and Bob were 1st married, they lived for a couple of months in an apartment on Kennebec Street in Waterville and also in Winslow. They then bought a trailer and put it on the adjoined lot of her parent's house at 52 Edgemont Ave. She continued to work at Montgomery Ward during her 1st pregnancy and on weekends when, in 1957, her first child Cindy was born. Her mother and her sister Theresa would help by taking care of the baby on weekends while she worked. In 1960, Claire and Bob purchased a cape style home down the street at 40 Edgemont for $11,500.00. \r\nCindy was born with cerebral palsy, and this began Claire's unique journey of love, strength, and fortitude. She cared for Cindy in her home for 47 years. Six years later, their second child Brian was born. Claire took in boarders, college students, to make extra money. She would cook and clean for them. In 1971, Claire and Bob built a camp on Pattee Pond in Winslow. Many summers were spent there. \r\nWhen the kids were young, Claire was involved in Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Football boosters. She was a homeroom mother to help in school when her kids were young.\r\nClaire canned and "put up" vegetables from the garden each year. She had a wringer washer at camp, and she put all the family's clothes through that daily and hung them to dry. Claire's son Brian married his wife Linda in 1986. Later that year Claire became a grandmother, a "Memere," when her grandson Nick was born. Grandson Jeff followed in 1988 and then granddaughter Kate in 1990. When Claire's 3 grandchildren were young, she often cared and cooked for them while their parents worked. She loved to sew and knit. She would make them outfits, blankets, hats, mittens, doll clothes, and quilts with nursery rhyme themes. One of her favorite things to bake were molasses cookies and whoopie pies which her grandkids loved. She cooked big family dinners that were made with love. It was clear that she put her heart into every dish she made, and you could guarantee that you would never leave her table hungry. She taught her granddaughter to knit with patience and love. Her grandkids remember great hugs and kisses. She would try to make the love sign with her hand in response to the kids. She never could do it and everyone would laugh and laugh. She would drive her grandkids to lessons grumbling each time with a smile that she didn't like to drive because she said she was too short to see! \r\nWhen all three of her grandkids were in school, she took a job as a crossing guard. Her assigned corner was near Ace tire, and she grew very attached to the kids as they headed to what was then Brookside school. She would come home and share lots of stories of those kids. Claire was thrilled when her 4 great grandchildren arrived. They were always sure to make her laugh. Big, big belly laughs! Her family was the world to her. Her husband Bob died in 2019, just 11 days after their 64th anniversary.\r\n Claire is survived by her daughter Cindy Dutil of Oakland, son Brian and wife Linda (Clark) Dutil of Waterville, grandson Nicholas and wife Katie (London) Dutil, of Sidney, grandson Jeffrey and wife Savanna (Dickey) Dutil of Winslow, granddaughter Kathryn (Dutil) and husband Thomas Hersom of Winslow, and her 4 very special great grandchildren. Tessa Dutil, Jocelyn "Jocie" Hersom, Isabelle "Belle" Hersom, and Arlo Dutil. She is also survived by her sister Theresa and husband David Roy of Oakland, her brother-in-law John and wife Lorraine (Legace) Dutil of Winslow, brother-in-law Hartley "Buzz' Fernald of Winslow, and sister-in-law Therese (Ruest) Dutil of Fairfield.\r\n Claire was predeceased by her parents, her husband Joseph "Bob," her sister Collette and husband Joseph "Larry" Theriault, sister-in-law Patricia (Dutil) Fernald, brother-in-law's David "Chi Chi" Dutil, and Louis "Pete" and wife Evelyn (Clark) Dutil.\r\n A great quote once heard was "Life is brief and fragile: and it is only loaned to us for a little while." Claire's loan was 87 years. So, to this wonderful woman who just wanted to be happy and wanted everyone else to be happy, "good luck in your next journey Claire and God bless you and your soul forever and ever."\r\n Per Claire's request, there will be no calling hours or funeral. A private graveside committal with immediate family will take place in early summer. Arrangements are under the supervision of Gallant Funeral Home on Elm Street in Waterville. \r\n A great big thank you from Claire's family to the staff at Waterville Family Practice and especially to her doctor Julie Phelps; Claire's friend and helper Inez; The Hospice staff at Maine General, especially Claire's nurse Regan who was compassionate and loving until the end. Also, thank you to her beautician Kathy and nail nurse Michelle. There are no words for our appreciation.\r\n Donations can be made to Project HOPE at Erskine Academy. Checks payable to Erskine Academy. The HOPE (Helping Others Persevere at Erskine) Club is a student group that meets regularly to fundraise for resources to aid disadvantaged students at Erskine Academy. Checks may be made payable to Erskine Academy, c/o HOPE. 309 Windsor Road, South China, ME 04358.