She defied all the stereotypical sayings about mothers-in-law.
She was amazing, wonderful and loving.
Claire DeSapio Gesualdi passed away today aged 94.
Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the daughter of that city's mayor, Fred DeSapio, Claire led a long, joyous life surrounded by family and friends: four children, nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, an abundance of aunts and uncles (real and honorary) and almost anyone who crossed her path and was smitten by her kindness.
We first met in February 1979 when I arrived in West Long Branch, NJ jet lagged and bedraggled from London to claim her daughter.
Without hesitation, Claire opened her heart and soul to me; never a cross word between us in 40 years.
Claire taught me Scrabble. One of my most enduring memories of her (and there are many) are our nightly Scrabble tournaments. She was a smart and shrewd player and probably more responsible than anyone for improving my vocabulary as I struggled to become a writer.
The tournaments followed some of the best home-cooked meals I've ever eaten, all lovingly prepared from scratch by the best Italian chef I've ever known.
In every new home we ever moved into (and we moved a lot), "Granny" Claire never failed to appear and assist with the transition.
Ditto the birth of two daughters, her beloved grand-daughters.
Always there when you needed her.
Now Claire's soul has been set free into a soaring spirit to rejoin the universe.