Floral 11

Clare Born Holcombe

March 20, 1926 ~ April 29, 2020 (age 94)


Clare's Story

Clare Born Holcombe

Born on March 20, 1926 in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Father: William Paul Born           Father’s parents: Hugo A. Born and Augusta M. Hoffman Born

Mother: Louise H. Rosentrater Born     Mother's Parents: Julius Rosentrater and Anna Giller Rosentrater 

Brother: Rudolph A. Born

Husband: W. Philip Holcombe

Children: David Alan Holcombe, Janet Louise Holcombe Dunlap, Christopher Philip Holcombe

Grandchildren:  David and Janna Holcombe’s children Buddy, Lena, and Marlee Holcombe and Christopher and Jennifer Holcombe’s children Christopher and Ryan Holcombe and David Dewey.

Great Grandchildren:  Lena and Wes Capps’ children Cameron and Logan Capps and Christopher and Christa Holcombe’s son Kaden Holcombe.

Family history for Clare and why her parents decided to immigrate to America.

Clare’s parents met after World War I.  Louise’s fiancé had been killed in the war and William had served on a German submarine.  William had attempted to immigrate from Germany before the war and was caught and put on a German submarine.  He worked in the engine room.  The submarine he served on was destroyed by a torpedo.  William was taking a break on deck at the time of the hit and he and a few survivors were floating on wreckage in the water for days.  They knew they could not survive another night when a ship spotted them and they were rescued.  William met Louise after the war.  She worked as a bookkeeper for the family business which was a packing business for shipping companies.  She said she had no plans to marry after her fiancé died.  However, William and Louise were married in Germany where Clare’s brother Rudy was born.  Louise’s Mother, Anna, died after WW I of the Spanish Flu.  William wanted to immigrate to America and predicted there would be another war.  If he couldn’t get to America they would go to Australia.  Louise wrote to a cousin in Dexter, Michigan who reviewed William’s work record and said he would have no trouble obtaining a job here.  Without ever meeting them, Louise’s cousin signed as a sponsor and they were on their way.  Their families were very supportive of the decision to immigrate.  Louise like to tell the story of her sister running after the train as it pulled away from the station.  They did not expect to see each other again.  At the time Louise was pregnant with Clare.  When Louise had her medical check upon entering the country, she often said the doctor told he she had a very strong heart.  She lived to be 97 years old. 

Clare’s childhood.

Clare was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She always said she had a very happy life growing up.  She was proud of her parents who immigrated here without being able to speak English and who provided well for their family.  Her father had seven years of apprenticeship in Germany working with fine mechanical pieces.  He got a job working as a machinist for the University of Michigan where he worked many years before he retired.  William was offered a higher paying job out of state working for a munitions plant producing war materials but he wouldn’t take it.  Clare always said her father gave Louise all the credit for careful handling of the family finances. Especially during the depression.  There was always food on the table.  One time, Louise brought a live chicken home for William to kill for dinner.  He told her to never do that again.  During her childhood Clare’s parents combined with friends and built a vacation cottage on Pleasant Lake outside Ann Arbor.  Clare and her brother Rudy spent many happy times at the lake and became very good swimmers.  Clare loved to tell the story of her father telling Clare and Rudy they were going to swim across the lake and he would follow in a row boat.  And they did swim across the lake.

Clare’s High School Life.

Clare met Philip Holcombe at Ann Arbor High School which they both graduated from.  Philip’s younger brother, David, was in Clare’s graduating class.  If Philip had not broken his leg skiing, they may never have met.  He was in rehabilitation for a long time and because of this he went back to finish some classes and asked his brother to introduce them.  Clare remembered the afternoon they were together and heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  When Phil entered the University of Michigan, he was chosen for a Reserve Officer’s Training Corp program which would allow him to finish his college degree before being deployed.  He had planned on becoming an architect but changed to mechanical engineering after the accident and dated Clare while he was attending the University of Michigan and she was in high school.

Clare’s Adult Life.

After graduating from high school Clare attended Michigan State University where she pitched on a girl’s baseball team.  Clare married Philip after World War II at age 19.  They were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor on October 15, 1945 and were married for 66 years.  Phil was still in the Navy when they married and they moved to San Diego.  They returned to Ann Arbor where Phil separated from the U.S. Naval service, got his master’s degree from the University of Michigan and began working as an automotive engineer.  Their first two children, David and Janet were born in Ann Arbor.  They moved to Cleveland, Ohio when Philip got a job with TRW.  They lived there for many years and their third child, Chris, was born there. When they moved to Chagrin Falls, OH, Clare's athletic side came out again after raising three children.  She became an avid golfer and over the years was in many women’s leagues and won many tournaments.  After Philip’s retirement they became avid golfers in Arizona where they retired.  They played golf in Phoenix and in Fountain Hills where they lived and later became members of the Aspen Valley Golf Club in Flagstaff where they played all summer.  They never took a golf cart but walked 18 holes.  They also loved to swim and family members have many happy memories swimming with Clare in Flagstaff.

Clare is survived by her children and their spouses Dave and Debbie Holcombe, Janna Holcombe, Mark and Janet Holcombe Dunlap, Chris and Jennifer Holcombe and her six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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