Claire Chiarella Jeffers, age 103 died peacefully on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at home. She was born in Calabria, Italy in 1920 in the village of Marcellinara. She immigrated to America at the age of four with her two sisters and her brother, Joseph Chiarella, was later born in New Jersey. Jersey City was her first residence for 24 years. She moved to Long Branch in 1948 and settled in Oakhurst in 1957. Her fond memories of Jersey City include her many years as a choir member at Holy Rosary Church and the circle of childhood “girlfriends” she enjoyed and whose friendships she has cherished for over 80 years.
When in Long Branch, Claire grasped the opportunity to work at Fort Monmouth by attending a correspondence school and was then employed at the Fort as a Secretary for 25 years in the Research and Development Department, retiring in 1980. She joined the choir of the Star of the Sea Church in Long Branch, the St. Mary’s Church choir in Deal, and then became a member of the Sweet Adeline’s Chorus, traveling and singing that Barbershop harmony which gave her great joy.
In 1975 Claire met and married the true love of her life, Ralph (Jeff) Jeffers. Jeff was, as she was quick to admit, the biggest blessing of her life. Jeff was a Pearl Harbor survivor and together they attended the Pearl Harbor reunions in Hawaii every five years. With Jeff by her side, she pursued her passions for traveling, singing, “show bizz” and telling jokes. Together, she and Jeff enjoyed the deep love of her nine nieces and nephews, whom she considered the second biggest blessing of her life, Joseph (Buddy) Cieri, George Cieri, Joseph, Pat (Junior) and Bobby Conte and David, Maria, Bernadette and Joseph Chiarella. She boastfully claimed them as “her own”. Her marriage to Jeff also brought into her life 5 stepchildren with whom she has many fond memories. She was also proud to be the Godmother to Rachel Aretino, Joseph Cieri, Jr., Maria Chiarella and Trevor Kraeutler.
Claire was predeceased by her loving husband, Ralph (Jeff) Jeffers, her parents, Maria and Joseph Chiarella, her sister Frances and her husband Angelo Cieri, her sister Jean and her husband Pat Conte, her brother Joseph Chiarella and his wife Netta, her nephews Joseph (Buddy) Cieri and Joseph Conte and her grandnephews, Brian Cieri and Kevin Cieri.
She is survived by her brother Joseph’s children and their spouses, David Chiarella (Peggy), Maria Weisman (Elliot), Bernadette Calver (Kevin) and Joseph Chiarella (Camille); her sister Frances’s son George Cieri (Mary) and her sister Jean’s children, Pat Conte Jr. (Diane), Bobby Conte (Julie), her nieces, Mary Cieri, Phyllis Cieri and Patty Conte and many grand nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Monday, September 25 from 9 to 11 am at the Damiano Funeral Home, 191 Franklin Avenue in Long Branch followed by a 12 pm Mass at the Church of St. Anselm in Wayside. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105, Web: http://www.stjude.org/. The family invites you to leave a letter of condolence by selecting the Tribute/Guestbook link above.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105