Today's #TributeTuesday comes from Claire's oldest brother, Ben. This is what he said at the Celebration of Life on January 10, 2018:
"Claire packed so much into her 27 years with us. She was a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin and an aunt. She was a student, a volunteer, a musician, a dancer, a dentist, and a Naval Lieutenant. She was these things and so much more. Somehow, though she had many trades, she mastered them all. I could not have been more proud to call her my little sister.
It always amazed me that she could excel academically while managing to fit so much community service into her spare time. Through her talent, hard work and good choices, she was able to graduate from both undergrad and dental school without paying a dime of tuition. From a remarkably early age, she involved herself in community service projects both big and small, from baking cookies for her neighbors to raising money for South African orphans. Somehow she found the free time to do all of these things. As a relative said the other day, I'd have had free time in college too if I hadn't been drinking beer and playing pool. Claire had better things to do.
I often told her how impressed and proud I was of her achievements and good choices. In fact, I told her that so often that I think it really started to embarrass her. But her achievements are only part of her story. And I wish I had thought to tell her then what I am about to tell you now.
Claire was one of the most fun people in the world you could hang out with. I don't think I ever told her that, but it's undoubtedly true. There was nobody better to be goofy with. Whenever the family was together we would tease each other with silly inside jokes, dance around ridiculously, and sing like cheesy lounge singers. I'm sure every one of her friends in this room has similar memories with her. I'd love to hear every one of them later on at the reception.
Taylor and I would do anything we could to make Claire laugh, even if we knew we would likely face what we called "the wrath" as a result of our jokes. In fact, one of the most famous quotes in our family, "sit up, scoot up, and shut up" was the result of some particularly zealous attempts by Taylor to make Claire laugh at a family dinner in the Terre Haute Olive Garden. Any trouble we found ourselves in was nothing compared to lighting up the face that always lit up our lives.
She was the shining light of our family, and that would have been true had she never achieved anything of note. She brought so much joy to every single member of our family; I think it's safe to say that she was everyone's favorite. She was the best of us. Though we will remember her achievements always, we will miss Claire, our sweet, silly shining light."