Claudette Alice Undercoffler Belgard passed away at the age of 86 on October 19, 2019 surrounded by her children. Claudia, as she was known by friends and family, was the devoted wife of 43 years to her husband, Theodore F. Belgard and the loving mother of four children Regan Frick, Diana Reed, Ted W. Belgard and Erin Radcliff. She leaves a legacy of 6 grandchildren - Jaclyn Reed, Patrick Reed, Rachel Bittner, Dylan Frick, Emma Radcliff and Christopher Radcliff, as well as five great grandchildren.
Claudia was born the second daughter of Claude and Alice Undercoffler on June 26, 1933 in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA, where she lived with her parents, grandparents, and older sister, Mary. At the age of four, her family moved to Lake Worth, FL, onto ten acres of land just outside of West Palm Beach, where her parents opened a restaurant, the Bungalow Inn. She and her sister remember sneaking downstairs from their apartment above the restaurant to watch diners enjoy the chicken pot pies and other delights that her grandmother created for the dinner menu. It was also here that the flames of her entrepreneurial spirit were stoked when she started selling fruits and vegetables from a stand on the main highway outside of their property along with her sister. The family stayed there for about four years before moving briefly back to Philadelphia where they soon decided to sell all of their possessions and settle in Hollywood, CA.
They lived in many different apartments and homes in Hollywood, including a house on Sunset Boulevard, where they shared living quarters with the wardrobe mistress to the movie stars of Monogram Studios. Claudia attended Immaculate Heart High School where she mingled with the children of stars as well as future Hollywood actors. After graduating in 1951, she spent her time dancing, performing, and studying opera, as well as many a day helping her mother run her restaurant, the Little Home Cafe. On one of these days, a handsome young man came in looking for a hot meal. She waited on him and burned his toast. The rest, as they say, was history. She had met the love of her life, Ted Belgard. Claudia and Ted married in Hollywood in June of 1956, after he mailed her an engagement ring from across the country in Georgia, where he worked at the time.
They lived in many different places while growing their family, including Georgia, Texas, Hawaii and California, due to Ted’s work as a hurricane hunter and later as a field service representative for Lockheed. Eventually, the family of six settled in Los Gatos, CA. They lived there for around twelve years with Ted working at Lockheed as an engineer and Claudia raising their four kids.
After making a trip up to Washington to visit Ted’s brother, they decided to make a final move to the beautiful northwest. They moved to Port Townsend in 1972 and opened Belgard Electronics, which later became a Radio Shack franchise. Claudia brought her acute business instincts and penchant for hard work to the store, where she and Ted initially helped fishermen set up their boats with radar equipment and fix broken gear.
She was the face of the business and had a large hand in designing what is now The Belgard Building in the Port Boat Haven. For the last three years of her life, Claudia lived at Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle. Her family is very grateful for the wonderful care they provided her there.
Claudia was an outgoing and creative woman who always had a story to tell. She loved to paint, write, dance, sing, garden, decorate, and dote on her many pets; be it cats, dogs, parakeets, rats, ducks or chickens. She was a dedicated member of the Catholic Church, where she rarely if ever missed a week of mass and donated many hours of time and service to her church community. She was smart and tenacious, well known for her business success and wasn’t afraid to simply make things happen. This strong and vivacious woman will be greatly missed by her family and friends, yet her legacy and love for people, animals and the beauty around us will live on in her children, grandchildren, and for many generations to come.
A funeral mass for Claudia will be held at St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Port Townsend, WA on November 9th at 12:00 noon.