Claudine Jane Hawkins was born August 11, 1925 in Riverton, Illinois to parent Arthur and Bertha Hawkins. For a period of time she lived with her Aunt Freda and Uncle Bill in Riverton. In 1933, Freda, was born and she was taken back to live with her parents and new little sister.
Claudine told me that for many years she resented her little sister Freda because she was very happy at her Aunt & Uncle's house. She said that she was brought back home to babysit and she wasn't treated as well as the rest of her sisters. She told me that she got a straight pin stuck in her heel and Bertha told her to quit being a crybaby and get over it, there was no needle there. Many years later when Claudine had a scan of her foot, there was the pin, plain as day.
Around 1942, at 17 years of age, she moved to Michigan with her parents and sisters. Claudine met Roy Glenn Van Duzen and in 1943 they were married. Claudine and Roy had the following children:
1. Roy Douglas - born July 23, 1946 in Springfield, Illinois. He passed away July 1, 1986 in Los Angeles, California.
In 1960 Roy and Claudine divorced. She met Russell Lee Graves and on June 25, 1964 they married. January 16, 1974 they divorced.
Claudine then met Norbert John Ratusznik. They married May 24, 1976 in Oakland County, Michigan. This was the third marriage for both of them. Claudine and Norbert were together until his death on May 29, 1987.
Claudine worked as a bar maid or a bar manager. Until she was 50 years old, when she married Norbert, she had to work to support her family. When she was able to stop working she started doing arts and crafts, taking vacations with Norb, doing things and going places that wasn't ever possible for her to do before.
After Norb passed away, Claudine tried living a couple different apartments and then with each of her daughters. It was when she was living with her middle daughter that she found she had terminal cancer.
Claudine passed away on May 26, 2000. She died at home with her daughters, her grandchildren, her sisters and her friends around her bed.