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Claire Grace Duerst passed away peacefully at home on January 4, 2014 after a brief illness. She was 96.
A memorial mass will be at 3:00 p.m. January 10 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 235 Chapel Street, Grass Valley, CA. There will be a reception at her home following the service.
Claire was born Sept. 5, 1917 in South Dakota. She was the last survivor of James and Agatha Doohen's nine children.
She was an elementary school teacher in South Dakota, beginning her teaching career in a rural one-room schoolhouse. She was married to Robert Duerst on November 28, 1942. He preceded her in death.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Gary and Sue Duerst, of Kauai; daughter and son-in-law Sharon Ruth Rose and Stefano Woods, of Penn Valley; son Ken Duerst, of South Dakota; daughter Jeanne Duerst, of Nevada City and Bo Littig, of Nevada City; daughter Anne Merrill, of Penn Valley; daughter and son-in-law Mary and Kirk Hinman, of Puyallup, WA. She is also survived by six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Tim Duerst; Amy and Todd Woodbury; Carie Branch; Matt and Jeremy Hinman and great-grandson Michael Hinman. Many kind and loving nieces and nephews also survive.
She was preceded in death by her parents, all eight of her beloved siblings, and two grandchildren, Tiffany Woodbury and Jessica Rose Hinman.
Claire loved her faith, her family and her friends. She took special joy in her only great-grandchild, Michael, who sang Christmas carols over the phone to her during her final illness.
A large family memorial celebration is planned for early summer back in Claire's beloved South Dakota. She will be laid to rest next to her parents.
(We'll feed your wild birds, Mom!)
Arrangements are under the care of Chapel of the Angels Mortuary in Grass Valley.
Published in The Argus Leader on Jan. 8, 2014