Claire Leaver Dunn passed away in her Alexandria home on November 7, 2022. She was the victim of Alzheimer’s disease. She leaves behind her husband of thirty-four years, Vice Admiral Robert F. Dunn, USN (Ret), and two sons by a previous marriage, Robert Bruce Leaver of Princeton, Massachusetts and Edward Scott Leaver of Wake Forest, North Carolina and four grandchildren.
Claire was born to Elizabeth Ann McLysaght and Arnold Edward Snyder in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1934. She had one sister, Patricia Kate, who predeceased her in 2016. Due to her father’s profession the family moved often and she grew up in such widely scattered locales as Buffalo, NY, Columbus, Ohio, Palo Alto, California, Denver, Colorado and Chatham, New Jersey. She attended Russell Sage College and completed nurse’s training at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.
In 1959 she married Lieutenant John Murray Leaver, Jr, USN, in Scituate, Massachusetts after which she moved in partnership that took them to Naples, Italy, San Diego, Hamburg, Germany, Virginia Beach and Vienna, Virginia, Long Beach and Coronado, California. Along the way she grew a family with Robert Bruce born on February 14, 1969 and Edward Scott born on November 17, 1970.
Disaster struck on May 8, 1972. While Claire and her boys were living in Coronado, John was killed as a passenger in a helicopter in the Tonkin Gulf.
Claire, showing incredible fortitude and ingenuity, found a place to live in the Village of Coronado and stayed there until 1985, supporting her family and even purchasing a house by working as a recovery room nurse.
In 1985 they pulled up stakes and drove cross-country to a new home and schools in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC.
In the Washington area she worked in several jobs including at the Navy Memorial. She also met through a friend the widower Robert Dunn. They were married on November 26, 1988. All her life Claire showed herself to be a woman of great charm and tremendous support to her friends and family.
She is terribly missed.
A memorial mass will be held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 1427 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22302, on Friday, November 18, 2022 at 11AM.