Claire Taylor Boiko, passed away peacefully in Oceanside, California on Friday, April 12, 2019 at the age of 93. She was a grandmatron of infinite jest. She adored Shakespeare, Benedict Cumberbatch and Canada. She liked to sing spontaneously, and her last song was the Canadian national anthem. And, no, she was not Canadian.
She was a part-time resident of New Paltz, spending five summers enjoying Woodland Drive, Water Street Market and visits with her good friend, Amy Burdick. Her favorite thing about the time she spent in the Hudson Valley with her daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law John Burdick was the way the light slanted through the trees in the late afternoon.
The rest of the year, she traveled between her progeny: spring in Peekskill with daughter Melinda Cosentino; autumn in Seattle with her daughter Dr. Patricia Boiko and son Robert Boiko; and winter in Carlsbad, California with her daughter Dr. Susan Boiko.
She was born on May 17, 1925 in Wellesley, Massachusetts, the daughter of Harvard student Clarence Parker Taylor and his wife, Vivian Adams Taylor. Claire’s husband, Bernard Boiko (d.1999) was the love of her life, as she often said. He was the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants David Boiko and Rose Steinbrecher Boiko.
Recounting the story of their romance thrilled her until the end. The couple met at an actor’s party in Manhattan during the Korean War where Sergeant Boiko struck up a conversation and was surprised to learn that Claire knew as much about the Goths and the Visigoths as he did. From 1956 to 1993, Claire and Bernard competed on game shows 28 times, including Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and won more than $100,000. Their success was chronicled in the documentary Gameshow Dynamos, produced by daughter Patricia Boiko (see www.gameshowdynamos.com, also available on Prime).
Claire gave life to her passion for literature in her career as a children’s playwright. She penned more than 70 plays for Plays Magazine. Her works have been performed locally at Duzine and Lenape schools and as far away as Bangladesh. She received hundreds of letters from children thanking her for her plays.
Claire delighted in the accomplishments of her children, twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. No matter what, they could count on her to tell them just how proud she was of them and how much she loved them. Grandchild, Eamon Rose Boiko Burdick (Strawberry) of New Paltz/Brooklyn attributes their love of Shakespeare, Greek mythology and silver screen legends to Grandma Claire.
Claire was a member of the Neptune Society and wished to have her ashes spread over the Pacific Ocean. Donations in her memory can be made to help build the amphitheatre at Lenape Elementary School, a 500-seat performance, education and gathering space for the entire community, at newpaltzamp.org or https://my.cheddarup.com/c/in-memory-of-claire-boiko.