PERU — Claire Louise (Pelletier) Holland, 85, passed at her residence in her sleep during the early morning hours Sunday, Nov. 5. She was surrounded by her loving husband and children. Claire was born in Nashua, N.H., February 6, 1932, to Emelida (Provencher) and Paul Pelletier. She spent her youth schooling between the St. Lawrence Convent in Montreal, Canada and Nashua. She spoke of the times her father would put her on a plane to get to Canada and would take a train back at the end of the week.

Claire graduated from St. Lawrence and moved back with her family to Maine, where her diploma wasn’t recognized. She enrolled at Stephens High School in Rumford and received her high school diploma,for a second time, in 1951, where she met her future husband, Stan.

Through those years, Claire helped her husband build two homes, the first of which they built while Claire was carrying David. Walking with Paul and Patty from Rydlonville in Mexico, up Falls Hill to South Rumford, Claire worked side-by-side with her husband. Claire was well-known for her work ethic and desire to learn all she could about anything that sparked her interest.

Claire was a self-taught musician, playing classical piano and many other instruments. She enjoyed quilting and sewing, canning, gardening and tending to the flowers; she loved them all. If food wasn’t grown or raised, it wasn’t eaten.

Claire’s love of painting allowed her to spend countless hours depicting scenes from nature and her beloved Concord Pond camp, where she gathered much of her inspiration. The family gathered there for years celebrating, fishing, swimming and enjoying the volleyball games and lobster feeds. That’s where the big fish stories originated and were passed on to the younger fishermen of the family.

Claire’s family remembers her love for crafting, creating, farming and especially her desire to help others. Everyone was always welcome, whether they needed a meal or a place to lay their head.


For many years, Claire volunteered for the Peru Fire Auxiliary, with one of her duties being to answer the red phone that hung in her kitchen to start working the volunteer firefighter list to notify them of an emergency.

One of Claire’s many talents was refinishing furniture, and, on several occasions, would take it upon herself to help her friends by bringing their fire-damaged belongings into her basement workshop and make them look new again.

Claire is remembered by her family with many fond memories, several including the escapades of animals on their childhood farm.

“I remember Ma chasing a bear down the driveway in the dark, thinking it was the neighbor’s dog after our sheep.”

Other memories include Claire coaxing Freddie, the pony, outside after he made a visit up the stairs into the living room, and gathering Suzie, the pig, when she tried to get a free ride to school on the bus with some of the boys.

Speaking of boys, they remember vividly their mother keeping them in line with her “BOARD OF EDUCATION.”


Claire took great pride in her family, which led to her desire to create a history for them. She and Stan spent countless hours over the years researching, traveling to hundreds of cemeteries, town offices and talking with historians across state lines. Her finished product, the printed version of their efforts is now a family treasure, a legacy left by their matriarch.

And, remember, SHE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST FABRIC….WINS! Claire, you WON!

Surviving family members include Claire’s devoted husband, Stan Holland; son, Paul Holland and partner, Nan; daughter, Patricia Hickey; son, Tom Holland and wife, Peggy; son, Tim Holland and wife, Karen; daughter, Mary Arsenault; daughter, Colleen Holland and husband, Ken; daughter, Jessica Manfre and husband, Philip; daughter, Nona Holland and partner, David; and adopted son, Andrew Arsenault. Claire is also survived by 26 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Claire was predeceased by her son, David; and a grandson, Timmy.

The family would like to send a special thanks to Jessica Enaire from Pine Tree Home Health for her physical and moral support and special care, and also to Wanda Burgess for her many years of support.

Friends are invited to sign the family guest book and share their thoughts, condolences and fond memories online at

Claire L. Holland

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