The Claire's mouse lemur and the Hubbard sportive lemur owe their names to Claire Hubbard.
The Henry Doorly Zoo's Dr. Ed Louis has discovered several new species of lemurs in Madagascar, and he thought it was only fitting to name a couple of them after one of the zoo's most generous benefactors.
Claire Hubbard, 87, died Wednesday in her home after a long illness, said her daughter, Dr. Anne Hubbard.
Her mother became a quiet philanthropist who was content to donate money to worthy causes without a lot of fanfare, she said.
"She wasn't a fancy person. She liked simple things," Hubbard said.
Claire Watson was born and raised in Boston. She graduated from Regis College in Massachusetts. During World War II she was a dietitian for the Army and served four years at Walter Reed General Hospital, now the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While in Washington, D.C., she met Theodore Hubbard, who had graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in medicine. They wed in 1950.
After their marriage, he completed his residency and she worked as a dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In 1953, they moved to Omaha. She gave up her job while she raised her two children, Anne and Theodore Jr.
"She was a great reader," Anne Hubbard said. "Her house always was filled with books."
She also loved cooking and watching the Food Network, and going out to dinner with friends.
After her husband died in 1995, the family foundation was established and Claire Hubbard began her life of philanthropy in earnest.
One of the organizations dear to her was the Henry Doorly Zoo and its programs in Madagascar.
"The Hubbard family and especially Claire have been instrumental in helping the zoo develop into one of the world's best," said Dennis Pate, CEO and executive director of the zoo. "The Center for Conservation and Research, Gorilla Valley, Orangutan Forest and, more recently, Expedition Madagascar were all made possible because of their generosity. Claire loved animals, and she made it possible for millions of others to share in that passion.''
Other beneficiaries of her support have included the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where there are two endowed chairs in the cardiology department; scholarships for the Creighton University Medical School; the Rhino Barn, Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park; the St. Augustine Indian Mission School in Winnebago, Neb.; Regis College; and the new Native American exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum.
"She had so much fun seeing the children at the zoo or at St. Augustine," Anne Hubbard said. "She loved to see what her money could do for others."
In addition to Anne Hubbard, survivors include son Theodore Jr., his wife, Colleen, and their son, Derek.
A prayer service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Heafy-Hoffmann-Dworak-Cutler West Center Chapel.
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