Eve Tessier: mother, entrepreneur, Claremont fixture
Longtime Claremont resident Eve Tessier, 96, died December 17, 2017, in Salinas, California, where her son Thomas Miles Tessier lives.
Mrs. Tessier was born March 13, 1921 in Sterling, Illinois. She traveled west during World War II to teach dance lessons at Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Los Angeles and to entertain US troops preparing for deployment in the Pacific. During this time she also received her training as a cosmetologist.
In early 1945 she met Steve Tessier at a dance for servicemen at the Hollywood Palladium. They were married on March 12, 1945, in Texas, where Mr. Tessier was stationed as a flight instructor.
Mrs. Tessier worked for a short time in the Village until opening her own salon on Padua Avenue, which became quite successful.
The Tessiers also ran an egg and poultry ranch on Padua Avenue for many years. Mr. Tessier ran the ranch with the help of the family and delivered eggs and chickens to the local community. The Tessiers’ entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic was passed on to their children, the family shared.
It wasn’t all work for the Tessiers. Their home was a hangout for local kids, who played in the then plentiful lemon groves, built forts, and one especially wonderful tree house in a massive Deodar Cedar tree in the family’s front yard. Neighborhood kids spent endless hours pretending that the tree house was everything from Fort Sumner, to the Alamo, to a spaceship bound for Mars, the family shared. The Tessiers made sure that the tree house was well built, safe and fun, they added.
“Mrs. Tessier always made sure that we kids had something to eat and were well supervised,” the family shared. “She gave us the freedom to come and go, while keeping an eye out for our well being. She was a very attentive mother, not only to her own children, but also to all the kids in the neighborhood. Another great thing about the Tessier house was a color television, which was nearly unheard of in those days. Additionally, two big sisters with the largest collection of 45 rpm hits of the day to listen to on the phonograph was a another big draw.”
Mrs. Tessier was always active in Democratic politics. A polling station was located at the family home for many years before it moved to the fire station on Padua and Mount Baldy Road. She was also a devout Catholic, and was adamant about her family attending mass. Later in her life she became quite active in Claremont’s Granite Creek congregation.
Mr. and Mrs. Tessier were avid bridge players, and hosted many tournaments in their home. There was always a supply of onion dip and chips at these affairs. Mrs. Tessier also loved classical music, which was heard often around the home.
The Tessier kids were encouraged to learn to play musical instruments, which they continued into their adult lives—Tom is accomplished on a number of stringed instruments; Linda is a piano virtuoso; Susan learned to play the violin and piano, and Mr. Tessier even played the harmonica. It was quite a musical family. Mrs. Tessier was also an avid dancer, a trait she passed on to her kids.
She was president and/or active in the local PTA while her children were in school, where she was known to be kind and generous, her family shared. She was also involved in Al-Anon and Overeaters Anonymous, and was a mentor for many people and families.
“It did not matter what time of the day or night, Eve was always available to give advice and encouragement,” her family said. “She was well liked and respected in the community.”
In her later years, Mrs. Tessier was very active in Real Connections, a group for Claremont seniors. Its mission is to share in camaraderie, outings, dances and social events and to help seniors live independently. Real Connections gave Mrs. Tessier the skills she needed to stay in the home in the city she loved so much, a gift for which the family is grateful.
Mrs. Tessier was preceded in death by her longtime husband, Steve Tessier.
She is survived by her children, Linda Tessier of Pomona, Susan Cheverton of Brea and Thomas Miles Tessier of Salinas.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Mrs. Tessier’s name to Real Connections at realconnections.org/donate.
Mrs. Tessier’s memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 17 at Claremont’s Center for Spiritual Living, 509 S. College Ave. The CSL was a longtime resource for the entire Tessier family, helping them deal with day-to-day problems as well as life changing challenges, the family added.
A small reception will be held at the church following the memorial service.
The family would like to thank Gregory Wickes, who wrote this obituary.