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Mount Sinai Obituaries and Services » Claire Evelyn Ungerleider

Claire Evelyn Ungerleider

February 11, 1933 - January 14, 2016

Service Information Mount Sinai Simi Valley - Kamenir Chapel

Service Date: Sunday January 17th, 2016

Service Time: 12:30 pm

Mount Sinai Simi Valley - Kamenir Chapel

6150 Mount Sinai Drive

Simi Valley, CA 93063

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Starting Starting life as Lynn (short for Claire Evelynn) Stern, then becoming Claire Seipp (as in Claire Seipp Real Estate or Claire’s Interiors), then Claire Ungerleider, (as in the Mrs. Ungerleider who travelled the world with her devoted second husband Art), she was the person whom everybody loved.

She was the person everybody turned to when they wanted calm, sensible advice, smart, practical insight, a steady, reasonable viewpoint — or just some incredible compassion and kindness … because whether you knew her as Mummy, Auntie Lynn, Claire, or Lynn — she was one of the nicest, sweetest, smartest, most fun, and companionable people in the world.

As a child, she curled her hair into Shirley Temple ringlets, romped with her pet Terrier named after the Wizard of Oz’s “Toto,” and played with her two older brothers Danny and Buddy in the huge, gorgeous park behind their house in Winnipeg, Canada — because she always appreciated everything that was joyful about life.

Even as a Jewish girl growing up in a not-so-Jewish neighborhood during World War II, she knew how to recount beauty in ugly episodes, such as when someone scrawled a swastika and the words, “go home, Jews” on her family’s garage door.

It was that moment when her father silently painted over the words.

And that other moment when, one-by-one, each non-Jewish neighbor — also silently picked up a paintbrush — joining him in obliterating the hate.

In grade school, she was constantly taunted by one anti-Semitic classmate. Once she grew into a popular teenage beauty, however, that very same boy now tried to ask her out.

“Didn’t you tell him he was a big jerk?” her daughter asked, always loving her mother’s stories.

“No,” Mummy replied. “I graciously turned him down.”

Her compassion showed itself in the tiniest details. When her older daughter got hysterical about a moth flying around the room, Mummy said: “Poor little thing, it’s scared, too.”

And why didn’t she kill spiders? “Once, I was going to kill a spider, then I saw it cowering in the corner — and I just felt terrible.”

Close to her brothers, (even when they stuck their smelly socks in her face, to tease her), she solidly believed in the importance of family — saying, “blood is thicker than water, dear.”

That’s what drew family to her. Even people who weren’t technically family, wanted to be part of the fold.

When her daughters were in college, Mummy included their friends in many warm and joyous Passover and Thanksgiving feasts. Once, when her daughter Michele got a little annoyed with one of her friends who frequently visited, Mummy said: “That boy has no family … nobody he’s close to. Of course we’re going to include him.”

As a plucky, resilient, single mother rearing two daughters, she instinctively knew how to make things work out and how to calm things down.

Some of her favorite expressions were, “Don’t worry, dear, it’ll all come out in the wash” and “why don’t you splash some cold water in your face, dear, and make a cup of tea. You’ll feel better” and “just be glad you didn’t waste any more time on that” or “you didn’t waste $35.00 … it was a $35.00 lesson” and “Hoo haw? Your darn rights it is!”

She called anyone who was younger, “dear.”

That included waiters, waitresses, clerks, (“thank you, dear”), people who phoned the house (“I’ll tell her you called, dear,”) and especially her relatives — whom she always greeted with an exuberant: “Hiiiiiiii, dear!”

She was a violinist, a pianist, a classical music lover; a devoted mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and pet owner; a math whiz and crossword puzzle maven; a sharp, strong, savvy businesswoman — who went from selling rugs out of her own home — to building a booming real estate business, which helped to revitalize Long Beach.

She could get it for you wholesale.

When she said, “always have a pleasant expression on your face, dear,” it seemed simple, at first — but, later you realized just how sensible and sophisticated that was, because it made people feel welcome, not just in personal relationships, but also in business — and in life.

And when she called you “dear,” you felt endeared — but, she was the dearest of them all.