Claire van Breemen Downes, poet and beloved wife of Alan Downes, died July 6th at St. Cloud Hospital, after a brief illness. She was 87. A memorial service celebrating Claire’s life will be held at 7:00 PM, Tuesday, July 9th, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 3226 Maine Prairie Road, St. Cloud. Claire was born June 4th, 1926 to John and Alice van Breemen in Zion IL. A writer, a scholar, and an English professor who taught at St. Cloud State University until her retirement, she was a resident of St. Cloud for almost 45 years. Her poetry appeared in The Great River Review, Tampa Review, and other poetry journals, as well as such collections as 33 Minnesota Poets and Twenty Poets Celebrate the Lake District. A book collection of some of her many poems, To Whom It Must Concern, was published by North Star Press. She served and supported the National Federation of State Poetry Societies in many ways, especially as Contest Director for several years. Claire is survived by her husband of 61 years, Alan Downes and her children–Deirdre, Sacramento CA; Blake (Barb Szurek), Minneapolis; James (Kat), Albion WA; Jeremy (Wiebke Kuhn), Auburn AL; and Melissa, Clarion PA. She is also survived by five grandchildren (Joanna, Skylar, Alicia, Ian, and Finn); her brother Bert; her sister Vannie; and many dear friends and relatives. The family would like to thank the St. Cloud Hospital doctors, nurses, and staff who cared for and comforted both Claire and her family. Claire is and always will be deeply loved; she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Schedule and Information
A memorial service celebrating Claires life will be held at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013.
St. Cloud Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
What a lovely obituary! I’m thankful to have met her, if only very briefly. May your life, like hers, be a poem.
Claire was a model for all of us who think we are poets. I will miss her distinctive reading style and wonderful command of words. My condolences. Dennis Herschbach