Claske Franck dies at 94

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  • Claske Franck

Clara Maria Berndes-van der Drift (Claske) Franck died Thursday, March 7, 2013, in St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick after a very short illness. She had suffered a stroke some months previously.

She was 94.

Born in The Hague in the Netherlands in 1918, she developed her secretarial skills to the point that at one time she was the fastest typist in Holland. She met her future husband Dr. Frederick Franck when she was assigned to type his first book, “Open Wide Please,” from his dictation in 1955.

She would eventually type, and actually collaborate, on all of his more than 30 books.

She moved to this country in 1959 and they were married aboard the SS United States on July 15, 1960. They also bought their eventual home in Warwick in 1960.

Claske and Frederick, who died in 2006, had a long, fascinating, productive life together. They worked in Gabon, Africa, alongside Dr. Albert Schweitzer over the course of several years as Frederick established a dental clinic at Schweitzer’s famous jungle hospital.

While there Claske served as a nurse and dental assistant. Frederick drew all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965 with Claske at his side.

That experience resulted in the founding of Pacem in Terris in Warwick. The ancient water mill had become a garbage dump. The transformation of the garbage dump into Pacem in Terris was an expression of the combined artistic and life-affirming vision of both Claske and Frederick.

Claske was the heart of Pacem in Terris, her love of things alive was incredibly strong. She supported and loved many, and left an indelible impression with her intelligence, wisdom and compassion.

In the United States, she is survived by her stepson Lukas van Witsen Franck and his wife Pauline, in the Netherlands by her nephews and nieces Huug, Agnes, Jaap,Yvonne, Truus and Andre Klooster and at Pacem in Terris by the assistants whom she loved deeply: Frances Jennick, Gloria Scheuermann, Steve Jennick and Annie Colonna and other friends.

Donations in her memory can be made to Pacem in Terris, Inc., 96 Covered Bridge Road, Warwick, NY 10990.

Arrangements were under the direction of Lazear-Smith & Vander Plaat Memorial Home, Warwick, NY-

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