Claudia Marie (Owen) Steigler, born on September 18, 1943, in Fort Myers, Florida to Thomas and Doris Owen (deceased). Raised in Kensington, Maryland among extended family from around the area. She enjoyed spending time with cousins and her brothers Chip (Thomas Jr.) and Ken, with whom she was very close. She was raised with a strong sense of family and community, and grew up regularly attending St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Kensington. She had been a Girl Scout, and also learned a love of gardening from her mother. She enjoyed learning horseback riding from her grandfather, Claude Owen, whose own horse had won many awards. Claudia was always proud to have graduated from Walter Johnson High School, and wore her class ring every day of her life. She went to college at Ohio Wesleyan University, and there she met a young theology student with whom she fell in love. She followed him to Boston University and would go on to marry the Reverend Ken Steigler. Having a natural talent for teaching, which she honed in her university training, she went on to teach French in the Cape Cod public-school system, including leading a class trip to France in the late 1960s. As happens frequently to pastors in the United Methodist system, they were relocated, this time to Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Never giving up her love for teaching and public speaking, it was during a fierce snow storm that she was speaking to a group of fishermen’s wives while a couple of weeks overdue for the delivery of her first child, when suddenly she realized it was time for the birth of her son, Kirk. Two years later, her daughter, Bethany was born, and once again, the young family was moved to a new home, this time in Glendale, Rhode Island, and many years were spent there. From this humble location, Claudia became involved in many outreach ministries, including Women’s Aglow, and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Heavily involved in these ministries, and her husband heavily involved in the ministry of the church, the couple drifted apart, and finally divorced. However, during the time of her ministry, she had met a friend that took her in and shared her vision for ministry. After leading many tours to Israel, Jordan and Egypt, she felt compelled to further her education towards missions, and went to study with YWAM, or Youth With A Mission, in Kona, Hawaii. Through this ministry, she participated as a volunteer in several Ironman competitions, as well as at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. For a time, she was also stationed on the island Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific, where she taught English as a Second Language. When she returned home to Massachusetts, she and her friend began a community outreach called “Messiah Ministries” where she led many Bible studies and also taught English as a Second Language. She participated in the day to day operations of this outreach until her mind and body couldn’t function safely on their own, and at that time became a resident of Sterling Village Nursing Home, in Sterling, Massachusetts. It was here where she passed away peacefully from the slow effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Her life ended on 10/22 at 2:20 p.m., ending it all poetically with consonance.
She had been an aspiring artist, studying oil painting techniques for many years, as well as charcoal drawing. Later on taking up dance.
She enjoyed playing tennis as a younger woman, and took up aerobics in the 1980s.
She aspired to master baking cookies the way her mother had, working hard at the family tradition of Christmas cookie baking in order to share the sweet treats with parishioners of the church.
Her favorite activity was travelling the world, and sharing kindness with others. She always sent friends and family personalized birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter and any other occasion cards, in time for each event. She took the time to make regularly scheduled trips to visit family and friends, travelling thousands of miles per year to do so.
She remembered the lineage of each and every distant relative, keeping them from feeling distant.
A memorial service will be held in her honor at the First United Methodist Church, 120 West Main St., Westborough, Massachusetts, on December 7th at 1:00 p.m.. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Alzheimer’s research by going to http:\\www.alz.org, or also to support YWAM at http\\www.ywam.org.
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