CLARE GASSLER

Clare T. Gassler, who passed from this world on November 7, 2018, was born Clare Tubridy in Yonkers, New York, the youngest of five children of Irish immigrants John and Catherine Tubridy, from County Clare (after which she was named), located on the island’s west coast.

She grew up on Laurel Place, a quiet street in Yonkers, and attended and graduated from St. Barnabas Catholic grammar school. Living, as she did, just doors away from her first cousins, the eight children of her father’s brother, beloved Uncle Jim, a New York City fire captain, on a block with a number of families with children her age, like the Dorises and the Courtneys, it is no wonder that it is of this crucial, formative period in her life that she should have countless vivid, fond childhood memories of playing outdoors from what seemed like dawn to dusk during endless summers of marbles, jump rope, kick ball, and stick ball.

The family subsequently moved from this idyllic setting to Pelham Bay, New York, just as Clare was entering high school, and, later, into a brownstone on W. 95th St. in Manhattan, from where she began her working life as a young adult at B. Altman’s department store. Another change of address followed as well as a dramatic change in career, from retail to the rail industry. Working out of Penn Station, she was first employed by the Seaboard Airline Railroad and, subsequently, by the Pennsylvania Railroad. While with the former, to her credit, she showed a spirit of independent- mindedness and self-reliance well ahead of her time by volunteering, as a young, single woman, for a transfer, first to Raleigh, North Carolina, then to Atlanta, Georgia, which took her far from home for the better part of two years. While with the latter, for whom she was a star bowler in the office league, with a 226 average, she met her husband-to-be, Peter M. “Marty” Gassler, a World War II Navy veteran, working toward his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering on the GI Bill at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

They were married on June 3, 1951, the day after Marty’s graduation, and were promptly transferred by DuPont to its plant on the Gulf Coast, near Houston, in Galveston, Texas. They called Texas their home for less than a year and a half, during which time their first child, a son, Martin John, was born, but returned to New York City, when they both found themselves growing homesick. In the year they lived there, they brought their second child into the world, a daughter, Catherine. They were then once again relocated by DuPont, which in the meantime had rehired Marty, this time to Crown Point, Indiana, situated some thirty miles south of the company’s installation on Lake Michigan, in East Chicago, Indiana. During the decade spent there, the family grew with the addition of two daughters, Clare and Susan, and a number of close friendships were forged, which would prove to last a lifetime, especially with members of the tight-knit DuPont community in Crown Point and surrounding towns.

In 1963, Marty was reassigned to Wilmington, which was to be viewed as a stepping stone toward their final destination, a facility in Europe. There the family spent three enjoyable years, living much closer to relatives than ever before, in anticipation of the promised move, which materialized in1966, to Dordrecht, a city in The Netherlands, the site of DuPont’s newest operation, still under construction, parts of which, however, were up and running.

In the five years spent there immersed in Dutch culture and taking full advantage of the unique opportunity for enrichment, Clare became bilingual, retaining her Dutch till the end, that is to say for the next nearly half century, even with no one to speak it with except immediate family members.

She visited museums, frequented flea markets on a regular basis, becoming a connoisseur and eclectic collector of Dutch art, including paintings, wall hangings, furniture, brass rubbings, and silver.

She made friends in Holland whom she maintained contact with for the rest of her life.

In 1971, she returned with her family to Wilmington, residing in Chalfonte, in good health, for the next 47 years, until her death in 2018.

During this time she saw her insistence upon the value of education bear fruit, with all four children graduating from college. She experienced the joy of witnessing three of them marry, two of them have children of their own, whose lives she eagerly played an active part in, and upon whom she lovingly doted, exerting a consistently positive influence.

Her generosity at Christmas and on birthdays was legendary, and the family photographs prove that the abundance recalled under the tree was not a product of childhood imagination.

It was also then that she and Marty had the opportunity to reunite with their old DuPont friends from Indiana at the biennial gatherings organized beginning in the early 1980s and lasting well into the new millennium.

And, besides the three transatlantic crossings made during her time in Holland, she and Marty took a number of Caribbean cruises, and two flights to Europe and Asia, which included stops in The Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

It was also in this stage of her life that she had the leisure to pursue more vigorously her twin passions: bridge, which she took seriously, excelled at, without, however, ever being cutthroat; and gardening, for which her extraordinary sense of color and eye for balance and arrangement stood her in good stead, making her yard a perennial showcase, which consistently elicited a steady stream of compliments.

She brightened our lives, as her flowers brightened the neighborhood. Thank you so much for everything, Mom. You are already dearly missed.

She is predeceased by her three oldest siblings, Margaret K. Collins, Mortimer M. Tubridy, and John J. Tubridy; her husband Peter Martin Gassler; her youngest daughter Susan. She is survived by her brother Kevin G. Tubridy; three children, Martin, Catherine (John Tharp), and Clare; five grandchildren, Andrew W. Frey (Ali Codina), Emily Devonick (Jeremy), Sean V. Frey, Christopher Tharp, and Caitlin Tharp; and four great grandchildren, James and Elias Devonick, and Luke and Pieter Frey.

A visitation will be held at McCrery & Harra Funeral Home (3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803) on Friday, November 16 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm. The Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (4701 Weldin Rd., Wilmington, DE 19803) on Saturday, November 17 at 10:30am. Friends may call beginning at 9:30am. Interment at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery will follow.