Remembering Clare Dockery

And older man and woman stand  at the frontof a crowd protesting for housing rights
Larry Wood and Clare Dockery at a rally on the City Hall steps

Last September, a small group of neighbors gathered in a park on West 97th Street to toast their former neighbor, Clare Dockery. Clare had passed away a year prior in April 2018 at the age of 84.

Clare’s friends reminisced about her and her activism. Their stories were peppered with phrases like “That was Clare!” and “she got riled up!” Aside from sharing memories of their time with Clare, the group was celebrating. Though she was a woman of modest means, Clare left more than $100,000 to Goddard Riverside by making us the beneficiary of her Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

“Clare told us she was leaving everything to Goddard,” Larry Wood, Goddard Riverside’s Director of Organizing said. But no one knew it meant something as wonderful and generous as this.

Clare had worked for years at Mt. Sinai providing clerical support. After going back to school to earn a Master of Social Work from Fordham, she worked for the Jewish Association of Services for Adults (JASA).

She was the Manhattan Borough Coordinator for the Public Affairs Committee for Older Adults (JPAC), a group organized by JASA. In that role, Clare became connected to Goddard Riverside and got involved in our advocacy around issues of affordable housing, tenant rights and issues impacting older adults.

She was also an active member of the Upper West Side community, serving on the tenant association at Park West Village where she lived.

Larry Wood fondly remembers the first time he met Clare: “In 1997 the rent laws were expiring,” he said. “There was a big march to the Governor Pataki’s office to protest, but blockades prevented us from getting close.

“An impromptu civil disobedience action ensued with dozens of tenants, including an enraged Clare, slipping under the barricade and out into the street to sit down and block traffic. It brought public attention to what was happening and thousands of tenants got mobilized to keep our rent protections in place.”

When she was ready to retire from JPAC, Clare became active in Goddard’s Senior Center on 88th Street and soon became chair of the Public Issues Committee, continuing to lead advocacy efforts among her neighbors.

Several local elected officials turned out to honor Clare’s advocacy at a memorial at the Senior Center shortly after she died — including State Senator Brian Benjamin, Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council member Helen Rosenthal and Scott Stringer, the NYC Comptroller, who knew Clare from childhood.

Her activism lives on in her legacy gift to Goddard.

Thank you Clare!