Beloved mother; wife; partner; companion; sister; friend and Artist. It’s with great sadness to announce Claudia passed away on November 26, 2019 at 3pm from complications due to MS at the age of 65.
Claudia grew up in Flint, Michigan. She was a “flintstone”, she would say. She loved many styles of music, but mostly Motown and Jazz. She had an extensive record collection of both. She moved to Salt Lake City in 1976. She first worked at Holy Cross Hospital in X-ray. She met her future husband, Kenneth R. Pollard, at a party on July 24, 1976.They were married in Maryland in 1978, 41 years ago.
She then graduated from Salt Lake Community College, as a Surgical Technologist. She worked for Dr. Kenneth Hunter, MD, for a couple of years, before switching over to work in the same capacity for Western Cardiovascular Associates out of St. Mark’s Hospital, assisting on the open-heart surgery. At the same time, she would assist Dr. Clifford Kwan-Gett MD on weekends at the University of Utah research team doing bye-passes and left ventricle assists procedures on calves. In 1980, she accompanied her husband to his new position in New Canaan, Connecticut, and simultaneously applied to Greenwich Hospital. They had no surgical positions at this time. A friend of her husband, who was an industrial designer, knew of a noted Swedish weaver, who was married to a famous industrial designer. She was looking for an assistant to train. She applied and became a weaver’s apprentice to internationally noted known Fiber Artist Helena Hernmarck. Over the next four years, she assisted on 12 tapestries for noted architects and buildings throughout the country. Through her work with Helena, she applied to and was accepted at Handdebetts Vanner in Stockholm, Sweden. It was there, she studied intensively for one year learning the structure of fiber, weaving techniques and color. All classes were taught in Swedish. At night, she learned Swedish.
At the time of graduation, her husband came to Sweden and they ended up travelling Europe for nine months. When they returned to the USA, they went back to Salt Lake City to ski; Claudia decided to pursue a BFA in printmaking and painting at the University of Utah, while working at St, Mark’s Hospital. She graduated in 1988 studying under Robert Klienschmidt, Tony Smith, Douglas Snow and Thomas Kass. She continued her studies by going to Cranbrook Academy of Arts, graduating with an MFA in fiber arts. She returned to Salt Lake City and became a basic design professor at the University of Utah Graduate School of Architecture with Thomas B. Kass, whom she admired immensely. She taught many future designers, artist and architects. While teaching on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week, she also continued the heart team Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at St. Mark’s. She brought the team music every day, while in the early mornings,getting in her swimming, 2 miles per day. She loved to swim.
Weekends and evenings were set apart for her artwork and weaving, as well as cooking and reading. She loved to cook. She was an avid reader.
In 1992, the love of her life came to her, Cole O’Neill Pollard, her son. She said she named him after Cole Porter.
In 1995, she was diagnosed with remitting, relapsing MS. She decided immediately to up her swimming to three miles a day. She battled MS for 25 years. She was hopeful that someone would find a cure. She appreciated all who helped her in her battle, especially Dr. John Rose, MD and One Care Home Health & Hospice.
She received many awards for her art. Her work has been in exhibitions through the country and other countries as well. She had three pieces which were representing Utah Women Artists in a traveling exhibition called “Out of the Land. Utah Women.” She and her work has been published in several books and catalogues. She said she learned to see from Tom, Helena, Cliff, her husband and son Cole. She leaves behind and will be held in the hearts forever by her son Cole, her husband Kenneth, her sister Chris , her brothers Mark, Paul. Tony and Nick and their families and along with her “girlfriends” Renee, Karen and numerous other friends, she held so closely along her journey. She is preceded in death by her father and mother, Chester and Edwyna Bielaczyc and her two brothers Michael and Stephen.
Her wish was that there would be no memorial or services. She said, she wants you to start swimming. She said it was the best thing for you, mind and body.