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Claire Kelly Gilbert

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Gilbert, Claire Kelly
Jan. 22, 1915 - Jan. 1, 2008

Claire Kelly Gilbert, the wife of Dr. Perry W. Gilbert, former professor of zoology at Cornell University, died of a stroke at the age of 92 in Ithaca, N.Y., on Jan. 1, 2008.
The daughter of John F. and Anna Lynch Kelly, and the youngest of nine children, Claire was born in Whitesboro, N.Y. When she was 5 years old, her family moved to Utica, where Claire attended St. Francis de Sales Academy, a girls' high school. She moved to Ithaca, N.Y. in 1933 to attend Cornell University. She graduated from Cornell in 1937.
On Sept. 3, 1938, Claire married Perry W. Gilbert. Claire was an able assistant to Perry, who wrote more than 150 articles and edited two books on sharks. She not only edited his work but was often his co-author. She learned Russian and Italian so that she could translate scientific treatises on sharks.
In 1967, the Gilberts moved to Sarasota when Perry became the director of Mote Marine Laboratory. In Sarasota, Claire volunteered at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop and sang alto in the choir at Incarnation Church. She entertained Cornell presidents, professors and alumni, as well as members of the Mote Marine Laboratory. She was a fine cook and expert hostess. She wrote articles and short stories and could identify flowers, trees, birds, bugs and reptiles; quote poetry; spell and define complex words; beat anyone at bridge or Scrabble; and make it all look easy. She loved to sing, played the piano, gardened, and was an avid reader.
After her husband died, Claire sold her home on Siesta Key and in April 2002 moved to the Longview, an Ithacare Community in Ithaca.
Claire is survived by her daughters Ann Gilbert McDonald and Mary and Lois Gilbert; her sons John, Christopher and Philip Gilbert; eight grandchildren, Matthew Seyfried and Shana Karn, Perry Gilbert McDonald, and Celeste, Charlie, Nicholas, Scott and Daniel Gilbert; and seven great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by two of her sons, David and Stephen Gilbert.
Contributions in the name of Claire K. Gilbert to the St. Vincent de Paul Society and to The Salvation Army would be welcome.
Published in Herald Tribune on Jan. 11, 2008
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