Clairette (Perez) Wentz Miller Andersen
East Wenatchee, WA
Clairette "Claire" (Perez) Wentz Miller Andersen passed away peacefully, in the loving presence of her daughter and son-in-law, on May 19, 2019. Clairette was born a French citizen of Oran, Algeria, on April 12, 1927. She is the daughter of Claire (Ortega) Perez Martin and Vincente Perez. Two years later, Vincente, an engineer, died in a crane accident in Oran harbor. Her sister, Vincent, was born soon after. Her mother, Claire, became a seamstress, and as a single mother, made a living and raised two daughters during the hardships of living in a war occupied country during WWll. She lost many family members and friends including her youngest daughter, Vincent, Clairette’s sister, who died of illness during the war.
In 1942, the Americans liberated Oran, an important harbor. An American soldier, Sam Martin, was introduced to Claire (Clairette’s mother) through mutual friends. After the war, Claire and Sam married and came to the United States, along with Clairette.
In Algeria, Clairette was an excellent student and graduated from secretarial college at the age of 15. She was immediately employed as secretary to the assistant of the Chief of the Secret Police (the first woman they ever employed) until immigrating to the United States in 1946.
After a short time in Texas, Sam was employed by the Wenatchee Daily World as a Lino typist. They moved into a bungalow owned by Rufus Woods, across the street from Neal R. Wentz and his mother, Emma. Neal and Clairette had their first date when she accompanied Neal to choir practice at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wenatchee, WA. They married on December 7, 1947. During their marriage, she studied and became an American Citizen, of which she was very proud. She taught herself to use American typewriters and accounting machines and worked for a family friend, John Douglas, and for Neal at Neal’s Family Shoe Store, while raising their three children. She also studied French and Spanish language distance courses through the Sorbonne and became certified to teach junior college. She taught French and Spanish at Wenatchee Valley College for several years during the 1960’s. After Neal’s death in 1981, she and her son, Craig, ran the family business until illness prevented Clairette’s participation.
In 1982, Claire married Pete Miller, and they lived happily, but briefly, in Chelan, WA, as he sadly passed away in 1984.
In 1987, Claire married Charles Andersen. They lived a devoted life together for 22 years, until Charles’ death from a heart attack in 2009.
Claire courageously faced many hardships: war, deaths, the complexities of immigrating, the devastating losses of three husbands, and the serious diseases of Osteoporosis and Dementia. She had great spiritual faith, read her Bible daily, and steadfastly tithed to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, until her illness became serious in 2015. Her children were always her first concern and she loved them deeply.
She was preceded in death by her father, sister, mother, step-father, and three husbands. She is survived by her children: Neal Wentz of Chelan, WA, Denise Page (Jeff) of Snohomish, WA, Craig Wentz of East Wenatchee, WA; and grandchildren: Nick Page (Christie), Elise Page Dixon (Dave), Amara and Aurora Wentz; and two great- grandchildren, Adley Page and Lane Dixon.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m., on Monday, August 12, 2019, at Chapel of the Valley, temporarily located at the corner of 9th and Chelan St., Wenatchee, WA. Donations may be given to the Bright Focus Foundation/Alzheimer’s Disease Research or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Arrangements assisted by Chapel of the Valley, Wenatchee, WA.