Longtime Murietan Clara Massman dies at 88
Clara Massman died at home July 22, several days after her 88th birthday. She was surrounded by family members who kept vigil and cared for her during her struggle with cancer. "We tried to give back to her in that brief period of time everything she gave us her whole life," said her daughter Patty St. Pierre. "We weren't ready for her to go, but we are so grateful that we were the ones to help her go. ... She accepted whatever God gave her, never complained about it, never discussed it, and remained a happy, grateful, spiritual person, even through the last four weeks of her life."
Services for Mrs. Massman will be held Friday at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church on Cantova Way. The rosary will be said at 11 a.m., followed by a memorial mass at 11:30 a.m.
Mrs. Massman was the mother of seven children and she is remembered by her family as "a homemaker who left us with beautiful memories of a wonderful life."
Clara Louise Seidenschmidt was born July 19, 1924 in Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in Dayton, and worked at Wright Field, where she met Jay Massman, who was serving in the U.S. Army. They married in 1943 and had a brief honeymoon before he was stationed overseas for two years during World War II. The first of their seven children was born in 1947.
Jay and Clara Massman, who married in 1943, at Christmas 2004.
The Massmans moved to Rancho Murieta in the late 1970s. "Dad golfed, mom played cards, (and) both socialized with many beloved friends," St. Pierre said. "Mom was a very busy homemaker, while dad traveled with his jobs. She was a great cook, leaving us with great memories and recipes. She did some traveling with my dad on his assignments."
The Massmans arrived in the early days of the development, when "just a handful" of people lived in Rancho Murieta, recalled Irene Hollander. "We moved into our house in '78 and I believe they came in '79, and she was my neighbor for over three years. She was just a delight, very warm and friendly. She had a great sense of humor."
The couples became friends and would get together to play pinochle and have dinner or dessert.
The Massmans stayed in their first home for a while, but the Hollanders moved within the community. "We were in the building/construction business," explained Hollander. The business constructed homes that include the current Massman home, built in 1986. "Everything was custom built," she said.
After Hollander was widowed, the Massmans "made sure if they had family gatherings, which were frequent, I was always included. I felt just like part of the family."
Over the years, after Mrs. Massman developed Parkinson's disease and Hollander had some physical problems of her own, "our visits were not as frequent as they had been at one time," she said. But at Christmastime, Hollander "always made a point of going over" with lemons from her tree and something made with lemons. "We would visit and sometimes I would stay for dinner. She's always been very sweet. She had a very warm, giving family," Hollander said, describing her 30-year friendship with Mrs. Massman as "a blessing."
Mrs. Massman was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years and their son Peter. She is survived by sons Jay, Michael, Richard and Thomas, daughters Mary Geach and Patty St. Pierre, 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Remembrances may be made to the American Cancer Society or Hospice Foundation of America.