Clair Ann (Whiting) Sharpless

FALMOUTH – Clair Ann (Whiting) Sharpless passed away peacefully on March 15, 2023 at the age of 84.

She was born on July 23, 1938, in Cincinnati, Ohio to Kathryn May Townsley Whiting and Carson Ross Whiting. She graduated from Walnut Hills High School and Northwestern University, where she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Clair joined the inaugural class of the Peace Corps, serving for two years in the Philippines as a teachers’ aide. She then earned a master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Florida and worked as a speech therapist.

As a student, she protested the Vietnam War and joined the fight for racial justice, including the desegregation of lunch counters. For almost 50 years, Clair lived in Simsbury, Conn., where she was named a Hometown Hero in 1989. She was a founding board member of Simsbury Community TV and the Hartford Area Cable TV Council and a co-founder of the Simsbury Food Co-op. She served on the boards of the Simsbury Historical Society, Simsbury Garden Club, and Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge. She supported non-profit organizations that reflect her values of equality, freedom of speech, reproductive freedom, and environmentalism.

Her greatest pleasures have been her many friends, her well-kept gardens, her book group, the ballet, her travel adventures, and her grandchildren. In her later years, she enjoyed splitting time between Miami, Fla. and Falmouth.

Clair is survived by her husband Thomas; daughters Rebecca and Kathryn Sharpless, sons-in-law Andrew Stanton and Jeffrey Kew; grandchildren, Kathleen and Carson Stanton-Sharpless, and Ryan and Lillian Kew.

Services will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. To view Clair’s memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit

Those who wish may make memorial contributions in Clair’s memory to:

Roaring Brook Nature Center or Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge.

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