Obituaries: Brook, Clements, Couch, Avens

Claire Brook

HILLSDALE—Claire Brook, of New York City and Hillsdale, former music editor at W.W. Norton Co., died June 8, 2012 at the age of 87.

She was born in New York City to immigrant parents Sonya and Frank Kessler, and distinguished herself early in the field of music as a pianist and composer.

She attended the High School of Music and Art, graduated from Queens College and got a master’s degree in music from Columbia University, which she followed with a year of composition studies with the pre-eminent teach Nadia Boulanger. She was married for 35 years to the love of her life, Barry S. Brook, head of the doctoral program in musicology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. They traveled the world together but always considered Hillsdale their second home.

After her retirement from W.W. Norton, she was executive editor at Pendragon Press, a musicological publisher she and her husband founded with her brother. She was an active member of the Century Club, as well as many other organizations. Her husband, Barry Brook, and her son, Jonathan Mann, predeceased her. She is survived by her daughter, Lisa Mann; her brother, Robert Kessler and his wife Janet Lincoln; her niece, Amanda Udis-Kessler; stepson, Randy Brook; stepdaughter, Brook Avidon; devoted grandchildren, Mallery Avidon, Joshua Burke, Justin Mann, Zachary Burke, Sonya Burke and Carey Mann, as well as, her granddaughters-in-law, Emily Baum and McCann Lefevre. Her thorough enjoyment of life, and especially all things musical, will be missed by her family and her friends all over the world. A memorial service will be planned.

Contributions may be made to the Barry and Claire Brook Fund of the American Musicological Society ( or to the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York 10016.

Pauline Clements (1924 – 2012)

CHATHAM—Pauline Ruth “Stevie” Clements, 87, of Chatham died Sunday, June 3, 2012.

Born in Madison, Maine, July 6, 1924, she was the daughter of the late Caleb Dalton and Ruth H. Stevens.

She served in the U.S. Navy during World War II (Waves).

Mrs. Clements attended the University of Maine, Alfred University and Empire State College earning a BS in ceramic art.

She is survived by her devoted husband of 64 years, Alvord W. Clements; sons, Mark (a/k/a, Lev Lemech) (Gail) of Troy and Randall (Bonnie) Clements of Valatie. She was the grandmother of Kyle Clements of Hudson and Carey Clements of Troy and the great grandmother of Luna and Aurora Clements. She is also survived by her sisters, Barbara Comstock, Jean Smith, Mary Manglass and brother, Caleb Dalton Stevens. She is predeceased by her sister, Lois Morrison.

The family thanks all the caregivers from Columbia-Greene Hospice for their love and support during their time of need.

A graveside service to celebrate Mrs. Clement’s life will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 23, 2012 at the Chatham Rural Cemetery. A reception will follow in the community hall at St. James Catholic Church.

Those wishing to remember her may make a contribution to Community Hospice of Columbia and Greene Counties.

William Couch

COLORADO—William H. “Bill” Couch, 75, of Durango, Colorado, formerly of Kinderhook, died May 19, 2012 near Silverton, San Juan County, Colorado while four-wheel driving in the Rocky Mountain back country.

He was born in Newark, New Jersey, to the late Harry W. Couch and Marian Carey Couch.

The family moved to Kinderhook in 1950 and after graduating from Martin Van Buren High School he attended Paul Smith’s College. He served in the United States Army Security Agency in Germany and upon release from active duty attended Utica


He later moved to Colorado and worked for many years at Honeywell as a project manager. With his wife of 30 years, Ardyce, he owned and operated a number of motels in Colorado and Montana before settling in Durango. He was predeceased by his wife, Ardyce O. Couch. He is survived by his brother, John C. “Jack” Couch and sister-in-law, Carol D. “Sam” Couch of Ghent; his nephew, Justin D. Couch of Kinderhook; his niece, Courtney E. Krott (LCDR John D. Krott); great nieces and nephews, Kathryn E. Krott, Mitchell D. Krott, Ashley A. Krott and Luke A. Krott of Kinderhook.

Interment will be private.

James Avens, Sr. (1921 – 2012)

SPENCERTOWN—James Avens, Sr., 91, born March 28, 1921 in Newark, NJ, died peacefully at home with family in Spencertown, June 9, 2012.

He was the son of the late James and Agnes Avens of Roselle, NJ.

A devoted husband, kind and loving father, grandfather and uncle, Mr. Avens was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Gertrude May Avens, brother William Avens and sister, Virginia Domin of Roselle, NJ.

He is survived by: sons, Reverend Mark J. Avens, Douglas Avens, James Avens and Gary Moyer, Jeffrey Avens and daughter-in-law Kathleen Avens; grandchildren, Amanda, Allison, Kristina, Faith and Jacob Avens, who will remember him for his warm outgoing spirit, and unconditional love.

Mr. Avens was a 1939 graduate of Abraham Clark High School, Roselle, NJ, earned a New Jersey Tree Expert Certification, and was proprietor of Park Tree Service, Roselle Park, NJ, for many years. He served his country during World War II in the United States Coast Guard on active duty from 1942 to 1946 and was an avid outdoorsman, sportsman, nature and animal lover.

Sincere thanks to the Community Hospice of Columbia-Greene, whose devotion allowed Mr. Avens to stay at home.

Funeral services were Tuesday, June 12 at the Bible Baptist Church. Interment followed at the Ghent Union Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the French, Gifford, Preiter, Blasl Funeral Home, Chatham. To send an online condolence visit

Memorial gifts may be made to the Bible Baptist Church, 1323 Route 21, Ghent, 12075 or Community Hospice of Columbia-Greene, 47 Liberty Street, Catskill 12414.

Comments are closed.