Educational travel blog
February 1, 2022
On January 6, 2022, Claire Briddon passed away at 82. Passports’ President David Markle asked me to write a tribute in honor of Claire since she had worked for Passports from its inception in 1992, retiring in 2015, and also at Passports’ predecessor company ALSG, beginning in 1973--long before David was born. Over 40 years of unflinching service in support of these two fine companies.
David asked me to do this because I had worked with Claire through all those years at both companies and could speak to this sad occasion from a long-standing personal experience.
My first reaction to David’s request was something along the lines of, “She was “always there, doing whatever she was asked to,” I told David.
And at 5 am the next morning, as I was struggling to get back to sleep after letting our beloved cat, Lucky, out to roam the neighborhoods of suburban Bangkok, it occurred to me. That was precisely what Claire brought to the table– her unflappable stability and that was her essential and indispensable contribution to the flourishing of both ALSG and Passports, often in the face of the extremely challenging circumstances presented in the late 80s when terrorism began to rear its ugly head and threaten the international travel industry.
In Claire’s obituary, it is written “Claire had an abundance of patience amidst the chaos of daily living and she always made herself available for anyone who needed support. Her gentle demeanor will be carried on in the hearts of the loved ones she left behind.”
Perhaps former ALSG Associate Director, John Hyland, said it best: “We all knew it- she was very special. A very reassuring presence no matter what was going on all around her. Very sad to hear that we have lost her.”
Personally, I adore people who at least pretend to laugh at my lame jokes. One day, Claire showed up at the Passports office driving a new vehicle, a squat little lump of a car with a very strange color. In fact, I looked it up; that color actually had no name. Paint manufacturers did not seem to want to acknowledge its existence in their catalogs. Well, I couldn’t help but razz Claire about the color of her new car. From that day on, she parked the car directly in front and close up to Passports’ main entry doors. I had to squirm around the car just to get into the building. Every morning.
I guess Claire had the last laugh after all. My sadness right now as I write these words is deep and palpable.
Godspeed Claire Briddon.
passports Educational Group Travel partners with teachers across the United States to provide high-quality educational travel experiences to their students. Educational tours visit destinations around the world - primarily France, Italy, England, Spain and Costa Rica - at low, guaranteed prices.
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