Grand Traverse Ski Club

Claire Nixon Donation and Memorial

The Grand Traverse Ski Club has received many donations  in the honor and memory of Clair Henri Bergevin.  Claire and the Nixon family played a large role in the Traverse City ski community and we wanted to share obituary with our members.


TRAVERSE CITY — Claire Henri Bergevin Nixon, 90, skied off into the sunset to meet her creator Saturday Aug. 23, 2014. Claire was born July 15, 1924, in Bay City, the fourth of five children, to George H. and Emma A. (Brysselbout) Bergevin.

Named after her maternal grandmother, her Mama Claire, she was 5 when her father, then vice president of the Detroit and Mackinac Railway, moved the family to East Tawas to open new offices there. She then began first grade at St. Joseph’s Catholic School and graduated valedictorian at 16. After taking a year off to travel she attended Marygrove College in Detroit, graduated in 1946, with a degree in social work and acquired a job at Catholic Charities of Detroit.

Growing up on the shores of East Tawas Claire loved the water and at an early age learned to swim, sail and ice sail with her three older brothers on Tawas Bay. At age 8 she learned to snow ski at Silver Valley Ski Area, beginning her lifelong love affair with the sport.


In January of 1948 she and her cousin, Jackie, took the train to Sun Valley, Idaho, to ski the Rockies, where she met and skied with Gary Cooper, the film star.

Claire married the love of her life, Donald D. Nixon, on April 23, 1949, at St. Joseph’s Church in Bay City. They moved to Traverse City, Don’s hometown, and soon afterward built a house on Boughey Hill, where they raised their four children and lived all these years.

They were members of Immaculate Conception and St. Francis parishes. Claire’s strong Catholic faith was evident in the way she lived her life.

She was involved in Civic Players, the Child Guidance Center and the National Cherry Festival for years. She was president of the PTA at Immaculate Conception school. She was a member of the Traverse City Golf & Country Club and the Grand Traverse Ski Club, where she was one of its earliest members. Before Hickory Hills opened she skied on the hill across from Meijer. Claire started the first ski swap in TC that still exists today. In the late ‘70s she also worked at the Tampico shop at Logans Landing and for several years for the Bahnhof Ski Shop in Traverse City.

Ever athletic, Claire learned to slalom waterski in her 40s and skied every summer well into her 80s. In her later years she enjoyed snow skiing with the “silver haired ladies” every week at Boyne Mountain and also volunteered, for years, at the Civic Center pool with the MS group.

Claire inherited her love of talking. She was fun, energetic, and had a way of bringing out the best in people, and they loved her for it. People were drawn to her and she would never let them go, which accounts for her many close friends and admirers.


Claire Nixon

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