News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 13, 2012

Claire Elaine Lewis


---- — Claire Elaine Cundiff, born on March 2, 1952, in Terre Haute, passed quietly to a better place with the Lord on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Nashville, Ind., after a short and courageous battle with cancer.

She is survived by her loving husband of 34 years, Paul Robert Lewis Jr. of Trafalgar. Claire was devoted to his children, Paul Robert Lewis III who resides in Shelbyville, Thomas Christopher Lewis who resides in Indianapolis, and Amanda Marlene Lewis who preceded her in death. She also is survived by her parents, Thomas Wickliffe and Maxine Claire Cundiff of Terre Haute; and her brother, Paul Winston Cundiff of Jamestown, Ky.; numerous grandchildren; nieces and nephews; and in-laws in both the Lewis and Cundiff families.

During “the dash” between Claire’s birth and passing, it was surely her laughter and “wide as Texas grin” that lingered first in everyone’s impression. Vivacious, adventuresome, artistic, kind-hearted, charitable (but always quietly), wickedly irreverent, gardener, chef supreme, home improvement specialist, lover of nature and all animals, especially their dog, Tess, voracious reader and friend to all, Claire pursued life with boundless enthusiasm and curiosity. When Paul and Claire moved to Brown County in 1994, their home, both indoors and out, quickly became a testimony to her creative talents. With her ability to create, make, stitch, paint or build extraordinary things, nothing in Claire’s world was ever ordinary. From the bright orange shutters on their brick home - an homage to her love of “da-Bears” -  to the unique wind chimes she donated yearly to the Brown County Children’s Auction, you could always see and feel the passionate expressions of Claire. She loved traveling, especially to Gulf Shores, and many scenic vistas became the inspiration for her paintings, stained glass work and other objects d’art. Each year, Claire selected a number of her sketches and paintings as subjects for her greatly anticipated Christmas cards. Despite her failing health, she was able to finish this year’s work and took great joy in knowing that they would once again be sent to her family and friends.

Claire graduated from Indiana Central University with a degree in elementary education but instead of teaching she chose to work in the hotel industry for several years. She then pursued a career as a fingerprint classifier for the Indiana State Police and received a commendation for her work that had lead to the resolution of numerous violent crimes. After 16 years with ISP, Claire retired to explore and follow her artistic dreams.

A celebration of Claire’s remarkable life will take place at Cottonwood Church in Morgantown, Ind., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Visitation with the family will be at the church from noon until services begin at 2 p.m. with Pastor Darrel Miller officiating.

Expressions of sympathy may be made in any way that touches your heart. A sentence or two in a card or on the online living memorial sharing your memories of Claire would be a wonderful remembrance for the family to cherish and share. If you choose to do so, the family also invites you to join them in making a donation in Claire’s memory to the American Cancer Society at this link, or to Alzheimer research. Online condolences may be sent to the family at: