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Claire M. Gehly

September 2, 1932 ~ June 7, 2022 (age 89)

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Claire Mae Gehly, 89 of Mountain View Community passed away peacefully on June 7, 2022. 

Claire was born September 2, 1932, the oldest daughter of Olive and Harold Henderson of Andover, Massachusetts.  She grew up on the large family farm on River Road where she was joined by three brothers and a sister.  Like most farm children, they had chores to do. She always talked about the dreaded job of weeding the rows and rows of carrots.  To make the job more interesting, she would challenge herself to weed one row until the next car went by, then jump over to the next row and weed until the next car went by. (Back then, there were not that many cars!) 

She was very shy as a child, but later in life became strong and feisty.  After graduating from Punchard High School in 1950, she went to Framingham State College for two years. She met and married, Donald Gehly, her husband of 61 years.  They started their life and family together in Sudbury, Mass.  The family would move to Connecticut, then Ohio, where Claire was a stay at home mom, raising their five children.  She always looked forward to coming home to Andover for Thanksgiving.  In 1966, the family moved back to New England and settled in Connecticut.  With her youngest in 3rd Grade, Claire worked at the local Boy Scouts of America Office while Don worked in NYC.  After a short stint in MA, the next move would take the family to Kansas.  Claire went back to school at Friends University to finally earn her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, in 1976.  Sewing, nutrition and cooking were always integrated into her life whether she was teaching her daughter, 4-Hers or other adults.  When her daughter got married in 1986, they designed and made her wedding dress, including some of the lace from her own dress she had made 34 years before.

In 1977, Claire, Don, and the youngest member of the family would move back to Massachusetts where they would open The Cookie Cottage, They also put the shop on wheels and went to the Sandwich and Deerfield Fairs.  They were at Deerfield for 20 years selling cookies. In between fairs, Claire worked at Raytheon for 20 years.  During this time, Don and Claire moved to Stratham, NH where they settled for 23 years.  While in Stratham, she turned her sewing talents into Bag Crafters. Claire made canvas and tapestry tote bags of all shapes and sizes.  She also put her weaving loom to work creating shawls, jackets and afghans.  She was involved in the Stratham Community Church where she helped with various sewing, and quilting projects, including a ministry of “couch potato” blankets for homeless children to keep,

 Before moving to Wolfeboro in 2014, Claire started adventuring with the Active Older Adults for their Wednesday hikes and she participated in the Boston Marathon Walking Program with her grandsons. For her 65th birthday she recruited her son-in-law, five year old grandson, Jesse, and Pat Lush to hike Mount Washington. 

After moving to Wolfeboro, Claire  enjoyed the evangelical services and adult fellowships at the First Congregational Church of Ossipee.  Five years later she moved to the Mountain View Community.

 Claire was predeceased by her husband, Donald Gehly, her brothers, Ernest Henderson, George Henderson and William Henderson, her brother-in-law Aaron Wentworth, and grandson, Jacob Douglas Lush.   

She is survived by her sister, Janice Wentworth of Rollinsford and sisters-in-law, Bette Henderson, Barbara Henderson & Catherine Henderson of Andover, her children, Don Gehly, Jr., David Gehly (Katherine), Bruce Gehly, Brenda Lush (Mark) and Glenn Gehly, many nieces and nephews, ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren. 

At her request, there will be a graveside service at the West Parish Cemetery in 

Andover, Mass. A 1:00 service is planned for Sunday, June 19. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mountain View Community, 93 Water Village Rd, Ossipee, NH 03864.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Claire M. Gehly, please visit our floral store.

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