Born May 16th 1953 in Price, Utah to Alfred Richens and Clyta Chidester Richens. Claudia passed quietly in her home with her family near her side on July 6th 2020 in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. A true Blue "Utahn" for her whole life! Well almost anyway, in her first few months her mother packed her belongings and her precious baby daughter and left for Boston, Massachusetts to the Navy Ship Yard where her father, Alfred was stationed aboard USS Hawkins DDR 873 was home ported. Claudia took her first steps on the slopes of historical Bunker Hill. I teased her a little about this fact about if there were still Red Coats there while she took her stroll? When her father's ship was deployed with a Destroyer flotilla on an around the world tour of duty, and a tour on the "gun line' of Naval Gun Fire Support off the coast of Korea, her mother, Clyta, once again packed up her belongings and her walking, talking toddler and headed back to Carbon County, Utah to stay put! Growing up in Price making many new friends, Claudia would be going to Reeves Elementary School, Price Junior High and of course becoming a beloved "DINO" at Carbon High School! Her education was very important to her! She excelled in her studies and was in the upper 3 percent in her classes there at Carbon. She enjoyed being in the Carbon Marching Band and Drill Team! She told many stories of "adventure when the school buses would finely get the back from a sporting event and she could drive her trusty car (an old Mercury Comet) back home!" "l was happy to know it was down hill from the school home, cause the car was hard to start and to try to keep it running long enough to make the trip! And, oh yeah, don't hit any bumps or the rail road tracks too hard cause the driver door window would bounce out of the track! If you were lucky it wasn't winter and rolling the window crank all the way down might just 'pick up the window' on the first or second try!" She was very happy when a family member "donated" a different car for their family to use! A 1960 Rambler Station Wagon with "push button drive"! You know the push the drive button and the rest of the buttons jump out in your hands? Yup! That one! One of her best friends in high school, Kathy Mabbutt, one day talked her into being a "pen pal" with a sailor that was over seas? She said OK it can't be all bad! That sailor turned out to be Kathy's cousin, Jim! They wrote pretty regularly and when Jim came home on leave in 1970 he took her out on a big date. Dinner at Jean Selme's Restaurant!
While trying to remember her childhood years I was talking with her Dad and brothers about their memories of Claudia some very personal and touching stories were shared. I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life as well! Her brother's came into their family when Claudia was into her teenage years. When Claudia graduated from Carbon High in 1971 Steve was only 6 and Paul was only 3. Their main memories were really after Claudia and I were married so I guess you could say that those two and I are brothers, we share the same memories! I'll share a couple of stories Steve remembered. Even today, he told me that whenever he was having a bad day or feeling sad and low he could call his sister and talk about anything, any time and knew she would always be there and be very understanding and non-judgmental. She would be as positive and uplifting in all of her conversation and would stay with him for as long as it took to make sure he was feeling better about the situations that he was experiencing. These stories will be cherished in my heart as long as I live. We let Steve and Paul drive our cars some times. Also I took them out on some "rural roads" around Price away from people and traffic in our '78 Bronco to let them both learn to use a clutch and a 4 speed standard transmission. I would put it in Low range transfer and first or second gear so it wasn't like there was going to be any "land speed records" set for sure! They learned how to "feather a clutch" pretty fast even if I say so myself!
After high school Claudia moved to Salt Lake City further her education at L.D.S. Business College. She was staying with her Grandpa and Grandmother Chidester. This is where she was when we were dating. We got married February 23rd 1974 (later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple, March 3rd 1979). I and spent a few years being young and carefree. Claudia had a few health issues that were making it very difficult to have children. After a lot of prayers and then some doctor visits we were then successful! Our oldest son, Tom, was born in August of 1983. Jared the middle was born in June of 1986. Brent, the caboose, was born in March 1990. A lot of "fun and games" after that!
Claudia went to work first at First Security Bank as a secretary in their claims and reclamation department. And then she went to work for her career at Mountain Bell in 1978. She worked there for 30 years. Made a lot of lifetime friends and always looked forward to going to work as a Customer Representative and eventually as a Claims Adjuster. She was there until she got ill with Breast Cancer. The treatments really took a toll on her health and she decided to retire after 30 years from 1978 to 2008. She always wanted to go back to work with all her friends but it just wasn't to be.
Claudia was very talented and loved to sew, crochet, needle point, do cross stitch samplers, quilt - especially "rag quilts" - and loved to do them and Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls for Christmas gifts. She made a lot of beautiful dresses for nieces and shirts for nephews. Also would sew up a grundle of what we called "burp rags" and baby blankets for family, friends and as many neighbors as possible! She really enjoyed doing helpful things like this. I think when it took us 9 years to finely get to have our little family she knew the happiness that brings to new parents, she wanted to do her best to be a part of this experience for others.
She loved (tolerated) camping at our favorite family places. Ferron Reservoir and over the Skyline Drive to the other beautiful small isolated lakes like Willow Lake, Emerald Lake and our all time favorite, Blue Lake. Up until it got to be too much work to put up tents and build camps, we would do this for our family vacations. Most of the times we could be at Blue Lake all by ourselves with no other camping neighbors for the entire week! Now Claudia told me she loved to camp really, as long as motor-homes, hotels and motels were involved! Our family vacations now (since 1998) are going to my ship's USS Oklahoma City Association Reunions. We go to different States and Cities around America each year! And guess what? Hotels are always involved!
Claudia is survived by her Father, Alfred Richens in Price; her loving husband (and the luckiest guy in the universe who married way over his head!) Jim, Cottonwood Heights; sons Thomas (April), Cottonwood Heights: Jared, Cottonwood Heights; and Brenton, Cottonwood Heights, as well. Three beautiful Granddaughters; Kylee 10 years old; Jinjer-Rose 8 years old; and Leah 4 years old. Her two brothers; Steven (Suzy Stokes) Richens, Orangeville; Paul (Lisa) Richens, Price and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
She is preceded in death by her Grandparents, Mother; Clyta, 2 infant sisters, Irene and Ruth Ann and an infant Granddaughter, Katelynn Christine.
A special thanks to the Butler 20th Ward Relief Society President, Pam Hannan, and the Relief Society women for their help and support. The people at Heartwood Hospice Home Health and Redwood Memorial Estates for their loving help and services.
Life Story Info
I love all of you guys. I used to babysit for Claudia when she was a baby. I pray the Lord will bless and keep her and the rest of the family that are with her. I also pray for blessings for the family that is left here on earth. One very odd thing. Clyta was married to a sailor, I was married to a sailor and Claudia was married to a sailor. Do you think we gals in this family had something special in our hearts for sailors?
I remember Claudia painting my nails, doing my hair, teaching me how to write my name in cursive and teaching me how to sing Little Bunny Foo Foo. We had so many little special moments before we moved to San Diego. When she was living with Gran ang Grandpa, and going to design school, she made me some shirts and made me feel special. She always had a special place in my heart and I will miss her deeply. Much love to the family, I feel for your loss.