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Claudette Mahar

January 24, 1941 August 4, 2019
Claudette Mahar
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Obituary for Claudette Mahar

Claudette, "Claudie", (Labonte) Mahar died peacefully Sunday, August 4th, surrounded by her children and grandchildren after a brief and sudden illness. She had been admitted to her long-time home hospital, St Joseph in Nashua, for emergency surgery before being transferred to Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH, where she finally joined in the hereafter her beloved mother, father, brothers and so many others she loved dearly.

Claudie was born Jan 24, 1941 in Nashua and lived and worked in the Nashua area her entire life. Speaking only French until her early school years and blessed with piercing hazel-colored eyes, Claudie’s journey would be one of education, service, dedication and above all else, LOVE.

Claudie was the second of five children and the only daughter of Hyacinthe and Elise Labonte, longtime French Hill residents. The family moved to 341 Amherst St. when Claudie was 6 years old. The now bustling commercial district was then a two-lane country road dotted with farms. After graduating from Nashua High school at the age of 17, her professional journey began in the Fall of 1958 as first-year nursing student in the Psychiatric ward at the NH State Hospital in Concord, receiving her diploma in 1961. During her time there, the treatment of mental illness was revolutionized with new drugs and treatments. It was against this backdrop of innovation that Claudie discovered her gift for management of services. She always infused her work with an innate ability to effectively and tenderly care for others, often in dire situations, a skill that would become her personal hallmark throughout her life.

Claudie joined the Air National Guard as a flight nurse in the 1960s, flying harrowing medical evacuation missions, extracting wounded soldiers from the jungles of Vietnam. It was during this time that she met her now former husband Harold "Hal" Mahar Jr. After their discharges, the two returned to New Hampshire and raised two sons and a daughter in Amherst, in the home in which she lived until her passing.

In 1969, Claudie began a 45-year journey at St Joseph Hospital when she reported to her first day as an R.N. in the maternity ward. She was a decommissioned Lieutenant and new mother when tragedy struck the Labonte family. Her eldest brother, Army National Guard Capt. Roland Labonte, was killed in a nighttime mortar attack at a U.S. base in Vietnam. Deeply affected by her brother's loss and motivated by her family and ambition, Claudie's care for others and her passion for education and service would only deepen. She was promoted to Charge Nurse, then House Supervisor, and ascended to Chief Nursing Officer in 1981. Throughout her professional tenure, Claudie helped further the careers of those around her, encouraging and inspiring many to advance their own opportunity and community through education and dedication to community service.

Claudie passionately continued her education to provide every opportunity she could for her growing children, receiving multiple bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University and UNH among others, all while working second and third shifts. She was soon named Vice President, Patient Care Services/Chief Nurse Executive and deepened her commitment to various charities and organizations which she believed were at the core of service to the community from which she herself had come. Among those were chairing the Greater Nashua Dental Connection and Rivier College Advisory Board as well as the Governor's Advisory Panel for Cancer and Chronic Disease.

In 1999 Claudie became VP for Hospital Services, a title she would hold until 2010. During this time, she was the recipient of many awards including the NH Hospital Association's highest honor for healthcare in New Hampshire in 1999 and Citizen of the Year by the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Her St. Joseph career concluded with a brief stint as Executive Director, Home and Hospice Care before her retirement in 2012. Throughout her well-deserved retirement, Claudie spent time with her children and grandchildren both in New England and California. A highlight for her was a trip to Europe where she was able to reflect on the spirit of sacrifice and duty among the graves of American soldiers in the fields of Normandy. A practicing and life-long Catholic, Claudie had immense interest in and respect for all cultures and religions.

Claudie served her community in posts on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities, Girls Inc., the Board of Governors of the NH Technical College system and numerous others, continuing much of this work until her passing. She was an active advocate for veterans her entire life and held a passion for helping literally anyone in need. Her awards were beyond count, her accolades, immeasurable. Many of her greatest achievements were done anonymously, and in person. Claudie passionately participated in an annual Christmas Project for those in need in the Nashua Area. Many times leaving entire dinners and troves of gifts on porches in the middle of the night, stealthily sneaking away like a modern-day Mrs. Claus. Her efforts to bring joy and love to people she didn't know personally and who would never even know her gave her the deepest satisfaction and taught her children so much about the true spirit of giving, sharing one's blessings, and above all, love for everyone.

The green-eyed little girl from French Hill, Claudette Labonte Mahar, never forgot where she came from or who she was. Her thoughts were always on others her entire life and until her last breaths. Her acts, deeds and spirit live on daily throughout so many that she touched. She will be missed beyond measure.

Claudie is predeceased by her mother Elise (Dube) Labonte, her father Hyacinthe Labonte, her brother Capt. Roland Labonte, and her brother Roger Labonte. She is survived by her brothers Robert Labonte and his wife Shirley of Milford, NH and Gerard Labonte and his wife Sandy of Nashua, NH; her sons T.J. Mahar and his wife Faith of Los Angeles, CA, Chuck Mahar and his wife Kristen of Chico, CA, and her daughter, Danis Mahar and granddaughter Shya Mahar, with whom she made her home of Amherst, NH; seven grandchildren who were the light of her life, many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, best friends Sheila and Rick McLaughlin, numerous cousins, in-laws and countless friends and colleagues.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday, August 10th from 1:00-4:00 pm in the Smith &Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, August 12th at 10:00am in St Patrick’s Church, 34 Amherst Street, Milford. Burial with military honors will follow in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Nashua. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation for an annual scholarship fund in Claudie's name at her beloved St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing, care of TD BANK, "Claudette Mahar Scholarship Fund" Acct #9727501143.


Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

10

Aug

1:00 PM 8/10/2019 1:00:00 PM - 4:00 PM 8/10/2019 4:00:00 PM
Smith & Heald Funeral Home

63 Elm Street
Milford, NH 03055

Smith & Heald Funeral Home
63 Elm Street Milford 03055 NH
United States

Service

Monday

12

Aug

10:00 AM 8/12/2019 10:00:00 AM
St. Patrick's Church

34 Amherst Street
Milford, NH 03055

St. Patrick's Church
34 Amherst Street Milford 03055 NH
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

St. Francis Xavier Cemetery Final Resting Place

32 Pine Hill Avenue
Nashua, New Hampshire 03064

32 Pine Hill Avenue Nashua 03064 New Hampshire
United States

Memorial Contribution

St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing

c/o TD BANK
"Claudette Mahar Scholarship Fund" Acct #9727501143
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