Claire Harmon Wise McNeely, 89, passed away on March, 18, 2014 in Newport, Oregon. She was born in Chanute, Kansas, on December 6, 1924 to Grace Alice Moyer and James Marian Harmon. She is preceded in death by her husband James Edwin Wise; her husband Russell Arthur McNeely,Sr.; her brother James Marian Harmon; and her beloved grandson, Ryan McNeely.
At age 16 she moved to California to live with her aunt and uncle where she completed high school at Hollywood High in the San Fernando Valley, CA. After school she worked at an ice cream parlor, where she met her first husband, James Wise. They danced in the early days of their marriage at the Hollywood Pavilion and lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco. They had two daughters, Lucinda Grace Wise Chapman and Margaret Elizabeth Wise Austin. After being widowed, she lived in Seattle, Washington raising her daughters, and worked as an accountant.
She moved to Houston, Texas and married Russell Arthur McNeely Sr. Claire and Russell loved traveling to Spain. Eventually they owned a home on the Costa del Sol. After selling their home in Spain they moved to Fulshear, Texas. In Fulshear, she was an active member of the Westin Lakes Women’s Association. During her tenure she produced a cookbook, participated in committees for numerous charity functions, and hosted many bridge parties.
Later, she came out of retirement to open a restaurant shortly before her 80th birthday, pursuing her lifetime love of cooking and entertaining. The Tea Party, a tea room in Newport, Oregon was run by her daughter, Lucinda, and Claire’s grandchildren Fletcher Sweeney, James Sweeney, Erin Thompson and Elizabeth “E’Claire” Chapman. Claire always had a good sense of humor, living next door a bar she joked if the music was ever too loud she would simply go downstairs and join them rather than complain.
She is survived by her daughters: Lucinda Wise Chapman and spouse, William Chapman and their families Fletcher Sweeney, James Sweeney and son Brandon Sweeney, Erin Thompson and husband Trevor Thompson and children, Katelyn Hernandez and Henry Thompson; and Elizabeth Claire Chapman; and daughter Margaret Wise Austin and spouse, Charles William Austin III and their families Sam Austin and Wife, Sarah and child Alison Jeanette Austin, Emily Austin Hinds and husband Tyson Hinds and children, Charlotte Austin Hinds and Thomas Oliver Hinds. She is also survived by step-son Russell Arthur McNeely, Jr.
Services will be held Saturday, March 29 at 1pm at the Prosser First Presbyterian Church located at 912 Yakima Ave, Prosser, Washington. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donating to a charity of your choice.