Claudia Sheila Daileader passed away on July 15, 2022 in Williamsburg, VA. She was born Claudia Fitzpatrick on January 18, 1945 in Connecticut State Hospital, located in Middletown, CT. Her father, Philip, who had been orphaned at the age of five, worked as a plumber and boilermaker; her mother, Ethel Virginia (Artes), worked as a waitress. Her father’s incarceration and her mother’s hospitalization, which continued until her death in 1969, resulted in Claudia becoming a ward of the state at birth. She lived in various foster homes until her adoption in 1950 by William and Genevieve (Beltrame) Collins of Waterbury, CT. Both were factory workers in Waterbury’s brass and clockmaking industries; William also worked as a mail sorter and clerk for the US Postal Service. They adopted Claudia following the death of their only biological child, a son struck and killed by an automobile in 1940. One of her foster families changed Claudia’s name to Sheila Fitzpatrick; upon her adoption, her name changed yet again, this time to Claudia Sheila Collins.
A hard beginning did not stop Claudia from living meaningfully in the service of others. She attended Notre Dame Academy in Waterbury, and in her youth and adolescence, she was an accomplished competitive accordionist. But she turned aside from the polka life; a scholarship enabled her to attend Boston College, where she was graduated from the School of Nursing, Class of 1966. On 23 July 1966, she married Philip Henry Daileader of Queens, NY, and thereby acquired at the age of twenty-one her fourth and final name. They resided in Queens, NY; Central Islip, NY; Islandia, NY; Sherwood, MD; and Williamsburg, VA. Along the way, Claudia worked as an Intensive Care Unit nurse at Queens General Hospital; a substitute school nurse in the Central Islip Public School District; a school nurse at Patrick Reed Middle School in Central Islip; and then in various units at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center, in Easton, MD. Claudia’s pride in nursing was boundless. She loved her work.
Claudia also loved cats, most anything Irish, and vacationing in Chincoteague, VA. She seemed determined to read every murder mystery ever written, and she came closer to that goal than one would have believed possible.
Claudia was civically engaged. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Central Islip Public Library and then as its Director. She served as Executive Vice President for the Central Islip Civic Association and on the Board of Trustees for the village of Islandia.
During her final fifteen years, Claudia regained lost family but also lost family that she already had. In 2008, she spoke with and met for the first time her two biological sisters, Phyllis and Sharon, who had gone through foster care and adoption together but separately from her. Connecting with her sisters was among her life’s greatest joys. The death in 2014 of her youngest child and only daughter, also named Claudia, was her life’s greatest sorrow.
Claudia Sheila Daileader will be interred at St. Joseph’s Church in Cordova, MD. She is predeceased by her biological and adoptive parents; her sister Phyllis; and her daughter Claudia Daileader Ruland. She is survived by her sister Sharon; her husband Philip Sr.; her sons Philip Jr. and Timothy; her son-in-law Brodie Ruland and her daughters-in-law Carol Sheriff and Maggan Soderberg Daileader; and her grandchildren Anna, Benjamin, Margot, Madeleine, and Declan.
The family thanks the staffs of Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, Brookdale Chambrel Williamsburg, and Envoy of Williamsburg for the skilled and compassionate care that they provided.
The family encourages those wishing to honor Claudia to donate to the Boston College Connell School of Nursing.