Claudia Dell Chavis
Claudia Dell Chavis

Claudia Dell Chavis (née Finger), of Buckeye, Ariz., formerly of Montclair, died on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at Abrazo Hospital in Goodyear, Ariz.

Mrs. Chavis was born on June 18, 1932 to Claudius Finger and Mary Belle Bolden of Montclair. Mrs. Chavis graduated from Montclair High School in 1951. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. where she earned her bachelor’s of arts degree in 1955, Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga. where she earned her masters in library science degree in 1957, Yale University in New Haven, Conn. where she earned her masters in fine arts degree in 1960 as well as received certificates from New York University, New York, N.Y in radio, TV and drama in 1963 and Pine Manor Junior College in Boston, Mass. in 1975.

In 1957, she performed alongside Fess Parker in the Walt Disney Production of “The Great Locomotive Chase,” which premiered at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair.

During her career she taught speech and theater, general humanities as well as directed drama groups at Bennett College’s Little Theatre, Virginia State College’s Theatre Guild, Bethune-Cookman College’s Tra-Co-Dram, Montclair State University’s B.S.C.U. Drama Workshop and Seton Hall University; Union Baptist Church Youth Drama Group and Actors Guild in Montclair, and VOICES, Inc. performance at Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y. She also worked with the North Carolina A&T E. Gwynn Dancers as lighting director and performer from 1986 to 1989.

She later retired as a librarian for the Bayonne Board of Education.

She enjoyed the arts, music, reading, writing, murder mysteries and crocheting.
Mrs. Chavis was predeceased by her father Claudius Finger, mother Mary Belle Bolden, brother Charles Finger, uncle Dr. Theodore E. Bolden, grandmother Mary E. Jackson and husband Horace C. Chavis.

She is survived by her daughter Kama Chavis, cousins Cathy Stephenson-Smith, Cheryl Stephenson-Jackson, Carol Stephenson, Nicky Stephenson and their families, and a host of family and friends including the Milton Family, Susan ‘Wink’ Winkler, Andrea Bernier and Carol.

A Celebration of Life for Claudia Chavis will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, at the Wally Choice Community Center, 45 Maple Ave., Montclair.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in memory of Claudia Dell Chavis may be sent to the Spelman College Theater and Performing Arts Department at 350 Spelman Ln SW, Atlanta, GA 30314 and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center at 1 Center St., Newark, NJ 07102 or visit njpac.org.