On August 25, 2021

Claude Blais: Mentor to many, friend to all, married to the restaurant

Claude B. Blais, 68, of Killington, a restaurateur and bon vivant, died of the ravages of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 22, 2021.

Claude was born in Newport, the third child of Benoit and Floride Blais. He grew up in the family home in Derby Line, traveling by bus during the school year to attend the Sacred Heart parochial schools in Newport. He graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1971. Claude joyously attended his 50th class reunion the week before he passed.

Claude Blais

Following high school, he continued his formal education at the University of Vermont for two years before transferring to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, where his love of the culinary arts found fertile ground. After graduation from CIA, Claude plied his profession in kitchens in the Adirondacks, Alaska, San Francisco and San Diego until his love of Vermont drew him to Killington.

Claude worked for a few years in the kitchen of the now-closed Alpine Inn, and then he ventured out to own and operate Claude’s Choices Restaurant, a sought-after eatery which flourished in Killington for more than 30 years. While Claude enjoyed and cherished all of the customers of his chef-operated restaurant, he was especially proud of the devoted following of “locals.” He was always a woodchuck-at-heart.

He often remarked, yet never bemoaned, that he was married to the restaurant, hence he leaves no surviving spouse. He was pre-deceased by both of his parents, and is survived by brother Maurice of San Diego, California, and his wife Deborah; brother Norman of Shelburne and his partner Dawn; and sister Lena of Jacksonville, Florida, and her husband Larry.

Claude was the favorite uncle to Wendi, Kyle, Jessica and David. He also leaves innumerable aunts, uncles, and cousins who are dispersed throughout the United States and Canada.

Claude’s amazingly rich and loyal “family” extends far beyond his blood relatives to include current and former Choices staff and patrons, fellow restaurant owners, and the denizen of Wobbly Lane and its environs.

Claude was blessed with a wide and varied circle of friends, many of whom took special care during the last year and a half of his life to assist him during the difficulties that attended his illness. Despite the debilitating effects of his condition, Claude never surrendered his infectious good spirits and winning smile to the cancer. He was a mentor to many and a friend to all.

A memorial service to commemorate Claude’s life will be held on Aug. 30 at 11 a.m. at the Summit Lodge and Resort in Killington. In lieu of flowers, it was Claude’s desire that his friends consider donations to the VNA and Hospice of the Southwest Region or the Rutland County Humane Society.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Stockbridge resident makes World MastersFly Fishing team

May 15, 2024
U.S. team of five will compete in the Czech Republic May 19-24 By Katy Savage A Stockbridge resident is casting up to test his fishing skills at the 2024 World Masters Fly Fishing Championships. Matt Stedina is one of five people who made the U.S. team. He’s currently in the Czech Republic preparing for the…

Killington Cup to return in 2024 

May 15, 2024
Killington Resort is slated to kick off the 2024-25 Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in the U.S., hosting the Stifel Killington Cup for the eighth time over Thanksgiving weekend. Over 40,000 fans are expected to cheer on the fastest female ski racers in the world, including six-time Stifel Killington Cup Slalom champion and winningest…

Robert Hecker appointed to Killington Select Board

May 15, 2024
By Curt Peterson Robert Hecker has been appointed to take Steve Finneron’s seat on the Killington Select Board. The announcement came after an executive session Monday night May 13. The position lasts until next Town Meeting Day vote, when voters will choose the person to fulfill the remaining year of Finneron’s term.  Hecker was one…

Vermont Legislature adjourns after a contentious 2024 session

May 15, 2024
Session was shaped by debates over property taxes, housing shortages, flood recovery and public safety By Sarah Mearhoff and Shaun Robinson/VTDigger After a tumultuous day of dealmaking on housing, land use and property tax measures, the Vermont Legislature adjourned its 2024 session in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m.…