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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Claudia


We were very fortunate to have Claudia Goudschaal for a friend and neighbor. Knowing that she had health issues with uncertain outcomes motivated Claudia to put her years of research between covers in Destination Leelanau, and I was honored to be able to host her book launch in Northport two weeks ago.

Claudia's visit to the bookstore this past Monday while our friend Thad Koza was visiting was a fortuitous encounter, as the two had met on previous occasions and shared a deep love of sailing vessels. It was good to be together on a sunny, balmy November day. We lingered outside on the sidewalk next to her car. Never one to shirk or be idle, on Wednesday Claudia worked at her volunteer job at the Leelanau County Historical Museum in Leland, as usual. She faced her surgery on Thursday without fear or indecision, without misgivings or regrets, ready for whatever came. "I'd like to have more time, but I've had eighty good years, so whatever happens will be okay."

Claudia Goudschaal was one of those wondrous, rare individuals who lived every day of her life, generously and fully. We will all miss her very, very much. Our southern exposure will always, to me, be "Claudia's hill" and "Claudia's woods," and I wish she were still there.

6 comments:

Gerry said...

I'm so sorry, PJ. Such neighbors have value beyond all reckoning.

Deborah said...

Claudia graced many lives with her friendship, knowledge, graciousness and love of living. She leaves our world a better place and her friends wealthier to have had her in their lives.

Dawn said...

I haven't met you and didn't get to meet her, but I am so so sorry to hear of your loss, and the loss to your community. Her gifts and talents will go on forever in the things and stories she left behind.

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you all for your sympathetic observations. Claudia was a pearl beyond price, and we are all richer for having had her in our lives. I keep thinking about her and all the things she did in the last few weeks of her life that were very important to her--not only getting her book launched but also sailing in the big Schooner Festival in September and making her annual trip (was it with the Questers chapter?) to Mackinac Island. Her sister Bobbie was with her, holding her hand, and Claudia knew Bobbie was there as she slipped peacefully away. She lived every moment of her life, right up to the end.

Lise said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you, Lisa.