CLAIRE HANSON (ne Roulston), Mar. 11, 1944 – Jan.16, 2021

Claire left us quickly, from complications due to dementia. She will be sorely missed by her husband and soul mate John, her children (from her first marriage to Eric Dowey), Joanne, Lesley and Andrew, and her grandchildren Grace and Lucy. She will also be greatly missed by her brothers Tom (in Northern Ireland) and David (in England), and by John’s children Peter and Kirsten, and grandchildren Alexandra and Maud.


Claire was born in Dublin, but was adopted by her ’Mum’ Nell Roulston and spent her early life in Bangor N.I. She was always sporty and was captain of her high school field hockey team., as well as being a great competitive swimmer and diver. Later she became a private secretary in Belfast, married Eric, and raised three children.


That marriage eventually failed, and by some chance of fate, Claire met John at her brother David’s place in Lymington, Hampshire in 1981. After a somewhat unusual courtship, mostly transatlantic, Claire moved to Canada, to Kitchener-Waterloo, as a 90 day bride. Claire and John were married in 1982, and spent a wonderful 39 years together. After John retired from the University of Waterloo, and the children had left home, they moved to the Midland area to be near the water and their sailboat.


Claire had many interests, one of them being badminton. Shortly after settling in Kitchener, she met other players, and they eventually took over the badminton side of the local Granite Club. Here she met her great friends Val Butler and Lyn Wright. Many tournaments were played, all over Ontario and even in Miami for the North American Masters. Many medals resulted! Tennis was another. One day she went to a meeting of the Midland Tennis club, and left the meeting as their secretary. Claire, Val, James Layter and Sheila Brown played many games together over the years.


Claire was very sociable, and liked nothing better than to have a group of friends over for dinner. The louder the party, the better. She was also interested in décor, and was forever changing things around to get it ‘just right’. As a keen reader, Claire belonged to two book clubs and John was kept busy putting up shelves to store the library. She was also a member of the Creative Writing group at Askennonia in Midland for many years. Music was another passion, mostly classical, but other genres as well. Claire and John regularly attended the KW Symphony, the Festival of the Sound, and the late lamented Colours of Music Festival in Barrie. A large collection of LP’s and CD’s was carefully catalogued by the highly organized Claire. As a keen gardener, the green space around her homes was always well looked after.


Love of sailing was one of the many things that brought Claire and John together. Many happy times were spent cruising Georgian Bay and the North Channel, not to mention the 1996 trip down the Intercoastal Waterway to Florida. Later land cruising in an RV took them to Newfoundland and also a circumnavigation of North America, Florida to San Diego and north to Victoria and back in the winter of 2007. Claire loved to travel, with trips to Greece, Cuba, and several to England with John to explore the crop circle phenomenon.


Claire’s last two years were marked by progressive dementia. Many thanks for the caring staff at Bayfield retirement home in Penetaguishene and at Kensington Gardens in Toronto, and particularly to her children Lesley, Andrew and Joanne who were by her side as essential care givers during their Mum’s last year and a half.

Farewell and bon voyage Claire, as you sail away.


Claire Roulston, Claire Dowey, Claire Hanson.

All the same person but she lived several lives on the trot.

Eleanor Isabel Roulston (Nell to most who knew her) was Mum to David Roulston, Claire Roulston and Tom Corran.  Nell, David and Claire lived at Seawards, the red roofed house on the cliffs overlooking White Rocks, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland which Nell had designed and built to her specifications.  After WWII they moved to Bangor, County Down, to 26 Ballyholme Rd. and in 1951 moved to 23 Moira Park where Tom joined the family and where Nell lived with Claire and her family until Nell died in 1976.   Claire attended Coombehurst School, Glenlola and Methody.  Her athletic ability flourished and she played on the field hockey team, won awards for swimming and diving and became an avid sailor. She experienced many adventures and much travel with the 2nd Bangor Guides in the late fifties. Claire Roulston was one of the “Terrible Four” with Rosaleen Campbell, Diane McDowell and Pat McMullen.

Claire met Eric Dowey in 1963 and they married in 1965.  They had three children, Joanne, Lesley and Andrew and divorced in 1981.

It was on holiday in Lymington visiting her brother David where Claire met John Hanson, a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Canada.  So began a long distance courtship involving letters, tape recordings, phone calls and the eye rolling of her children.

She bet on herself and packed up her three children and emigrated to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in May 1982.  Claire and John married in August 1982, and so began a 39 year marriage filled with sailing, travel and friends, much joy, irreverence and laughter.  John was the love of Claire’s life.

Claire loved nothing more than a get together where the craic was great and she was often in the middle of it maintaining a ridiculous sense of humour her entire life.

Claire Hanson died in Toronto, Canada on Jan 16th, 2021.  She was cared for by her husband and children as her body and mind succumbed to symptoms of dementia.  John, Joanne, Lesley and Andrew are heartbroken at the loss of this most fabulous woman.



Due to the current pandemic restrictions and under direction from our regulator, the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, effective November 23, 2020 all funerals and visitations will be by invitation only to limit the number of people in attendance and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We encourage those that are unable to attend in person to express their sympathy by posting a message of condolence to our website, donating to a charity of your choice in memory of your loved one or by sending flowers to the funeral home.




February 09, 2021
Pat Larmand from Penetang.
Dear John and family My deepest sympathy I always thought Claire and your story was such a love story. How you lived and loved for 39 years was such a tribute to you both. For me I remember our dinner parties, many stories told around the table,trips to Bala,foreign films and the ymwca Loved by your friends and all whom you knew.One in a million that person was you. Rest in peace my friend.
February 01, 2021
Val Toole
Deep condolences to Claire's family. I always admired her amazing gardening skills at Coutnac Beach and speaking to her about Ireland. She will be missed.
January 29, 2021
Lydia Ehmcke
Dear John, to you and your family I send my deepest sympathy. I am so sorry and wish you strength. I am remembering Claire at the Let's Write Group, when she came in from her tennis playing, full of life and ready to do another session with us. Always happy and vivacious. She lives in our memory. Love, Lydia
January 23, 2021
The PROBUS Club of Midland-Huronia
Dear John and Family, So sorry to learn of Claire's passing. Claire was involved so much with so many and no doubt, throughout her life, made a difference to those around her. We very much enjoyed her as a member of the PROBUS Club of Midland-Huronia. May the many happy memories Claire made with family and friends help you through this very difficult time. On behalf of the members of PROBUS Club of Midland-Huronia, please accept our sincere condolences. Joep Diening Past President
January 23, 2021
Pat Cowden
Dear John. We were sorry to hear of Claire’s passing. We also know she is in a better place where she is happy and free from the ties that bound her. We didn’t know you before Probus, but read her obituary and saw that she has had a wonderful life. You both created some wonderful memories and hope that all these memories will be some consolation to you at this time. Rest In Peace Claire. Pat Cowden and Bill Sheffield
January 23, 2021
Ron and Sylvia Foster
We shared some fun times together and have many good memories.
January 22, 2021
Val Butler
To John, Jo, Lesley and Andrew To all the memories. Val and Jo
January 22, 2021
Pat Eldridge
Heartfelt sympathy and condolences to you John and to your and Claire's families. Claire and I met many times on badminton courts across the country and enjoyed many soirees. Claire had a quick wit and loved to party. She will be sadly missed but happily remembered.
January 22, 2021
Renie & David Rumpel
We are honoured to have known Claire. This wonderful energetic lady, both in Waterloo & Penetanguishene, was a force to reckon with on the tennis courts . We have very fond memories of both Claire & John and we still chuckle over their many sailing adventures and mishaps in which John was the Captain & Claire was the "anchor wench" . Sincere condolences to John who was a great husband and care giver. Bon Voyage, Claire. Sincerely, David & Renie Rumpel
January 21, 2021
Heather Clow
Dear John, JoAnne, Lesley and Andrew, We are thinking of you as we remember the many great times we have had with Claire and how much she is missed. She was such an amazing woman, who we were lucky to have in our lives. Heather and Kevin Clow
January 20, 2021
Sheila Wilson
To John, Joanne, Lesley and Andrew, We have many wonderful memories of Claire at Coutnac Beach, of the visits on the deck, New Years Eve parties, borrowing recipes, and lots of laughs...we will always miss her. Sheila and Bill Wilson
January 19, 2021
Jeff Yee
To Joanne and family, condolences on your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
January 19, 2021
Jen Michael
My heart goes out to you and your family. Much love to you all.