Claire Phillips Russell Shaffner
1932 - 2021
Bennett Funeral Homes - Richmond
3215 Cutshaw Ave
Richmond, VA
SHAFFNER, Claire Phillips Russell, 89, of Richmond, passed away peacefully on October 20, 2021, surrounded by family. She was preceded in death by her son, Jeffrey Phillips Cheney. Claire was born on September 19, 1932, to the late Charles Phillips Russell and Caro Mae Green Russell. Both of her parents were creatives and writers, traits passed on to Claire during her childhood in Chapel Hill, where her father was a Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of North Carolina. Her maternal uncle was the late Paul Green, southern playwright and author of The Lost Colony.

Claire leaves to cherish her memory her devoted children, Caroline Elizabeth Cheney (Paul), Robert Walton Cheney (Becky), Elinor Cheney Halpin (Jay), Walker Shaffner Fonville (Mahood) and Amalie Shaffner Derdeyn (Jason). She will be greatly missed by her treasured grandchildren, Warren (Jordan) and Caroline Cheney, Henry Cheney, James and Claire Halpin, Lucy, Pace, Avery and Josie Fonville and Ned and Lia Derdeyn. She is also survived by her loving sister, Avery Battle Russell and her husband, Captain Alfred S. McLaren.

Claire was an exceptional person both in her work and personal life. She graduated from the University of North Carolina and began her broadcasting career at the public radio station run by the University, WUNC. She worked in copywriting and sales in the early years at radio stations in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. and Charleston, S.C. before arriving in Richmond in 1983. She was General Manager of WRXL/WRNL for 12 years, creating a number one Classic Rock station while also transforming WRXL into a public service leader. Subsequently, Claire was a successful residential real estate agent for 20 years while also owning her marketing company, Claire Shaffner Marketing. She dedicated her charity work to Goodwill Industries, serving on the board since 1987, as Chair of the Board from 1991-1993 and she was granted Board Member Emeritus in March of 2020.

Claire was an inspiration and role model to all who knew her. Her charming home was always open for cheerful visits, good wine and fabulous cheese boards. Lucky friends enjoyed warm fires in the winter and her marvelous garden in the spring. She was a great conversationalist and was always wise and detailed in her advice. She was happiest at her beach, Isle of Palms, S.C., enjoying long walks with her children and grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 30, at 2 p.m. at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 6000 Grove Avenue. Masks are required for the service.

The family would like to extend their gratitude to the entire staff at Westminster Canterbury Richmond for their compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Claire's memory to the Garden of the Holy Spirit at St. Stephen's, Goodwill Industries or the Salvation Army.
Published by Richmond Times-Dispatch on Oct. 24, 2021.
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Memorial service
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
6000 Grove Avenue, VA
Funeral services provided by:
Bennett Funeral Homes - Richmond
Sponsored by Bennett Funeral Homes - Richmond.
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10 Entries
I'm so sad to belatedly find out that Claire has passed. She sold my parents their home, and was a wonderful friend to both, especially my mom, when my father died shortly after they moved into the house. Claire was a class act, full of kindness, thoughtfulness, style, and positivity. I'm so glad I had a chance to meet her. Her life is an example of one well-lived, and an inspiration! I'm sending my deepest condolences to her family and all of her many friends.
Elizabeth Meggs
December 11, 2021
I had the pleasure of collaborating with Claire for many years in both radio and broadcast environments. Claire was wise, welcoming and winsome. I gained something positive each time we spoke. Her pride in her profession and family was abundant. I am proud to have known her and send my sincere sympathies to her loved ones.
Suze Mercado
October 29, 2021
My sincere condolences to Claire´s family. At a time like this there really are no words. I hope the following can bring your family some comfort. There will be no night in heaven, for the Glory of God gives it Light. You will not need nighttime for sleeping, because you´re glorified body will always be full of energy. Tiredness is one of the main things people have to contend with in this world, especially as they grow old or sickly. But there will be no fatigue in heaven and therefore no need for sleep. The Glory light of heaven is perfect and brilliant without a speck of darkness in It. There will be no sin therefore nothing to hid, you will see everything through glorified eyes, as you have never seen before. Colors will be more vivid faces will be more vibrant you will be able to look fully into My face. Your experience will be far better than that of Moses, who had to hide in the cleft of the rock while my Glory passed by. He was allowed to see only My back, but you Claire will have no such limitations. In heaven you Claire will see me face to face and all my glory!
Peggy Freeman
October 29, 2021
Claire, we will miss you! Our love to all your family. Betsy and Bill Moyer
Betsy and Bill Moyer
October 29, 2021
Words can't express how much we're going to miss Ms. Claire. She was one of Randy's Golden Girls. Such a sweet free spirit. Only One MS. CLAIRE!!! Prayers to Caroline and Family.. Please let us know what we can do
Randolph E Moore
October 28, 2021
We send love and sympathy to the whole family. Cousin Claire was an inspiration. I have many happy memories of our childhood days in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Our hearts go out to you all. Betsy
Betsy and Bill Moyer
October 28, 2021
Kerry Nantz
October 27, 2021
Robert, we are very sorry for you loss... As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Mike & KC Costello
October 26, 2021
Claire has been a wonderful advertising agent for our company, but more than that she was a dear friend to me. We generally discussed business about 10 minutes and then our topics changed to family and the many things we shared together. It was always a joy to meet with her. She was a wonderful friend and mentor. I will miss her so much. I send my deepest sympathies to her family and friends.
Judy L Tilley
October 25, 2021
So sad to hear the news of Claire's passing. In my early years as a rock radio consultant, Claire hired me to advise her at XL102. She was intent on turning it around from a black T-shirt rock station to a respectable station that would command respect (and high advertising rates). We had a great working relationship. I could provide counsel to her - that she often wasn't wild about - but she took it, thought it through, and would act on it. I knew she was always under pressure - it wasn't easy running those stations as a woman in those days. But she always handled herself with charm and style. I learned a lot from Claire about grace under fire. I admired her a great deal. She always spoke with so much love about her dear children and her charming Richmond. Please accept my virtual hugs for her family & friends.
Fred Jacobs
October 24, 2021
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