Sarah Clingain Puri: Passing Away of a Loving Wife and a 45-year Friendship

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sun, 02/09/2014 - 19:27.


Sarah Clingain Puri (a.k.a. Sarah Puri): Passing Away of a Loving Wife and a 45-year Friendship – from Derry, Northern Ireland, via London, New York City, and finally in West Side’s -- Jefferson Park, Cleveland, Ohio!

Sarah, affectionately known as Sadie, passed away yesterday (February 8, 2014) at 2:35 p.m. at Grace/Fairview Hospital because of a respiratory failure.

She had been admitted to the hospital on January 22, 2014 because of breathing problems. She had survived all previous trips to the hospital – but this time – while she fought till the very end -- her lungs finally gave up.

Her body will be cremated early this coming week and the cremains will be brought home.

There will be a memorial service sometime later.

Sadie was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, on August 4, 1931.

I met Sadie in New York City in 1968 at the office of Weidlinger Associates -- a world-renowned Consulting Structural Engineering firm -- where we both used to work.
We were married, first, on June 15, 1974 in the historic St. Jean  Baptiste Catholic Church (East 76th Street & Lexington Avenue) and a few days later in a Sikh Gurdwara in Flushing, Queens. My preferred locale for the marriage was Central Park – but somehow that did not materialize.

Sadie lived in Ireland, England, & New York City, and we came to Cleveland in 2001 to spend our golden years – as her family had settled here.

She twice visited her relatives, from my side, in India (Agra, Amritsar, Bhatinda, Chandigarh, Delhi -- old and new, Jaipur, Kashmir, Ludhiana, and Simla) where she was affectionately known as Simran.

She was a distinguished graduate of Queens College, New York City, with majors in Economics and English Literature, and a minor in French. I tutored her in calculus and she topped the class. When Sadie was living in London -- she studied at Hillcroft College -- the National Residential College for Women.

Sadie was a community activist, both in New York and later in Cleveland,  and a gourmet cook of both Irish & Indian food. She had her own sewing machine -- and sewed covers for chairs and sofas, stitched new curtains, and turned up my pants with seamless stitches. Now, I use my engineering skills and turn up my pants using safety pins. She wrote for community papers in New York City. She was an active member of the local and city-wide Educational Committees in Cleveland, and a founding member of the Jefferson Park Concerned Citizens.


As we were both through and through New Yorkers – we never learned how to drive – and used to walk for miles and miles as if there was no end.


We have a 2-car garage in our house on the south side of Jefferson Park on Cleveland’s West Side – but no cars in the garage.




Sadie provided home to numerous outside cats and kittens – both in Queens, New York City, and in Cleveland – and made sure they all had Irish names. I am following in her tradition by taking care of seven, very naughty, indoor and two outdoor cats.



Sadie was an accomplished singer and dancer. When Sadie was up and about -- and we had a party at our house in the summer – her brother Ben Clingain (passed away in June 2011) and Bald Paul (father and son) -- members of the Bald Paul's Irish Blues Band would entertain the gathering with their folk songs. The finale of the evening was Sadie dancing and singing the Irish song: "The Little Beggarman". Sadie also sang a Punjabi folk song (Kala Doria) when she visited India – a presentation that drew applause from my parents, family, and friends.

Sadie, I am sure, will appreciate a prayer or two to boost her standing in her new heavenly neighborhood.





Sadie was amused when she learned that, anytime she was home – I was no longer her husband but a caregiver. The last time she was home was for 4.5 months before she was taken to the ER on January 22, 2014.

Since June 2011 – when she started making frequent trips to the hospital for various ailments – I took care of her whenever she was home.

I learned to give her medications – depending upon her condition – either orally, or in liquid format via the peg tube using a syringe, or sometimes the liquids were dispensed through the flush bags.

I also learned to give her automatic feeds and water loaded in plastic bags using a programmable pump which delivered the contents via the peg tube.

The peg tube would clog very frequently and I learned how to clean it most of the time – using the milking process coupled with cleaning using a long internal plastic brush and finally flushing with a liquid. While many nurses prefer flushing with carbonated drinks that appear to dissolve the coagulated stuff – I found using warm water the most effective. I have even heard of one caregiver using beer to flush clogged tubes. There is a nurse in the ER, at Fairview Hospital, who is an expert at cleaning peg tubes, using proprietary liquids, to dissolve the coagulated stuff when it turns almost solid.

Peg tubes are very effective in providing the necessary daily nutrition – but they are not very reliable. Sadie had nearly eight peg tubes replaced during an approximate 3-year period.

While we had an aide come in, once a day, to wash and change Sadie – the remaining times -- I used to clean and change her diaper. She was very cooperative in rolling over when I requested her to do so – despite having undergone multiple fractures because of her very weak bone structure. The process of taking out the soiled diaper and the soiled sheets and replacing them with new ones is a skilled art – which took quite a while to master – and I took immense pride when after multiple trials -- I was able to do it without a hitch.

I took frequent readings of Sadie’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and blood oxygen (using an oxymeter attached to her forefinger).

I observed Sadie’s behavior – how she slept, how she reacted to pain from her fractures and her shingles, and the side effects of various medications. The records were kept in notebooks – I called “Sadie’s Journals.”

I tried my best to understand her ailments by reading extensively on the  Internet and then having detailed discussions with nurses -- who in our healthcare system comprise the frontline – all with the objective of providing Sadie with the best possible care.

Sadie with her nasal cannula pumping in oxygen, internal steel plates for hip fractures, feeding via peg tube (which provided her the necessary nutrition) and use of an hearing aid – was for me a modern-day “bionic woman”.


Anytime I was away from her for a couple of hours or more – Sadie made sure that I was blessed with holy water from Knock (Ireland). Then I would ask her to bless herself, our cats, the house, our neighbors, and Riverside School where I am a volunteer teacher (this is my 9th year).

Sadie was blessed with holy water when she was in the hospital and also after she passed away.

Sadie, while supporting my 21-day hunger strike to SAVE JOHN MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL – really did not favor the idea – fearing that I could hurt myself – but when I reassured her that I would not – she reluctantly went along. Here is the link to the article published in the Plain Dealer of Dec. 2, 2012 with the title, “A Cleveland Man's Hunger Strike won't Save John Marshall High School but it's worth noticing”:

End of three–week long hunger strike: The fast which started on Nov.  20 at 12:01 a.m was broken at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2012 by first blessing myself, as per instructions from Sadie, with holy water from Knock, then sipping from a glass -- a mix of 75% water, 20% vegetable juice, and 5% apple juice – as our very naughty seven cats looked at me with amazement. Sadie was not able to witness the event as she was away recuperating at the Manor Care Nursing facility.


Sadie actively supported my participation in the campaigns. She sincerely believed that the historic building -- an architectural gem would never be destroyed. She would not only permit me to go out and demonstrate with my signs – she assured me that there was nothing to worry about and that she would sleep while I was away. And of course, she never forgot to bless me and wish me a safe return home.

Any time she was away from home and I visited her – either at Fairview Hospital or Grace Hospital or ManorCare at North Olmsted – I carried my signs and the campaign newsletters. I was always surprised by the large number of staff, residents, and visitors who were associated with the historic school – either directly – they were graduates of the school or indirectly – a family member or a relative or a friend attended the school. And of course, they all got copies of the newsletter and gladly signed the petitions to save the school before it underwent a senseless destruction.

After I left the house – I used to go outside and wave the sign (INVESTIGATE CITY HALL) in front of Sadie’s window – and that really amused her.

Sadie also permitted me to attend the monthly Board of Education meetings (have attended 26 meetings so far) where I speak regularly against the senseless and illegitimate destruction of the historic school (opened in 1932) and call for INVESTIGATE CITY HALL for vote rigging, collusive inaction, and denial of due process.

The photograph shows the signs outside our house which continues to function as the headquarters of the campaign.
(The campaign has been detailed in multiple posts on my REALNEO blog and also on the SAVE JOHN MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL group on facebook.)



To all of Sadie's relatives and friends in Ireland, England, India, the United States, and other places who provided fellowship and support for all the time Sadie was a resident, in good standing, of Planet Earth.

Many thanks to Dr. Nitin Govani (Personal Physician) and the staff of the following facilities for the loving care extended to Sadie since June 2011:

Fairview Hospital, Grace Hospital, Manor Care at North Olmsted, Heartland Hospice, Hospice of the Western Reserve, and Cleveland Clinic Hospice at Home.

To Orthopaedic Associates (Drs. de Swart and Templeton and their staff) for taking care of Sadie's fractures resulting from a  fragile bone structure.

To Cleveland EMS, Donald Martens & Sons Ambulance Service, and Physicians Medical Support Team for safely transporting Sadie.

To the staff of the neighborhood Giant Eagle Pharmacy (West 140th & Lorain) for filling Sadie's (Sarah Puri's) prescriptions in a timely manner.

Also, a bundle of thanks to Ms. Nancy Coreno of the Coreno Funeral Home, not only for making all the arrangements, but more so for showing empathy and understanding at the loss of an Irish true-love!

POSTSCRIPT (02-13-14):

Sadie was cremated on Feb. 12, 2014 and her cremains were brought home on Feb. 13, 2014 in a green marble urn with the inscription:

AUGUST 4, 1931
FEBRUARY 8, 2014

Sadie was blessed with holy water from Knock.

She is sitting comfortably, on a small round table, in our living room -- surrounded by her photographs and objects of interest.

When asked how she was doing, Sadie responded, in a whisper, in her own inimitable way:

“Not too bad, thank you”!







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Deepest Sympathy, Mr. Puri

I am sorry for your loss.  Such a beautiful lady and now a beautiful angel.

God bless you, my friend.





* My blogs expressing my Freedom of Speech Rights, especially on matters of public concern, are my opinion and not the opinion of my friends, family or employer*

Thanks for the Support!

Lily: Sadie was a darling and will be missed.


I wondered why you were at the hospital taking bridge image...

 and I am very sorry to now know why.    We are thinking of you and your family and friends.    Jeff

Hospital Room with a View of the Lorain Road Bridge

Jeff: Thanks for your support. Her room on the 6th-floor of the Fairview Hospital complex (occupied by Grace Hospital) afforded excellent views of the Lorain Road Bridge. Unfortunately, because of the height and location of the bed -- Sadie was unable to admire the view.

In the course of our marriage -- she learnt about structural engineering of both buildings and bridges. We stopped at every construction site and observed the status of the work.

Once we were walking on top of the George Washington Bridge from the Manhattan side to the New Jersey side (Fort Lee) -- and the wind gusts coupled with the vibrations of the the bridge and the endless noise of the traffic were so unsettling -- she felt very uncomfortable -- and insisted that we turn back -- despite my assurances that the bridge was safe to walk on. We did turn back.

What a Coincidence: Sister & Brother – Side by Side

A google search on "Sarah Clingain Puri" brings up images of both Sadie and her late brother Ben Clingain -- side by side. What a coincidence!

Ben Clingain (who passed away in June 2011) was a local musician and sang and played Irish and American folk songs on the guitar with a local band.

Ben was mentioned in a comment pertaining to a REANEO post. Here is the link to the post: (Curbside Coffee Shop - Hillbilly Heaven "the best man in the world no. 1")

We'll all meet in Hillbilly Heaven

  Mr. Puri - so, so sad for your loss - you and your wife will forever be together.  And, someday - we'll all enjoy the music in heaven.  With deepest sympathy - Laura .

And the Heavens will Roar"

Thanks Laura! With Ben and the bands leading the way -- even Gabriel will have to step aside.

Satinder; We share your loss...and we send hugs and love....

As a little girl; I attended Sunday school...and every Sunday; as we drove too and form the church; we sang; "It's a small world after all!" 

Satinder; I was so blessed to have met Ben at the Curbside and to hear him sing loud and proud. He was so full of joy and laughter with his enchanting galic communications... his smile was everlasting. I remember hearing of his passing...and feeling heartrbroken that one of our true hillbillies had gone on to heaven. Thinking of your wife being welcomed by his enchanting smile and songs gives me a sense of peace on earth. He was always so warm and welcoming at the Curbside Cafe. He is missed much.....and your wife will be missed much more.... as she has been your soul and inspiration and love behind all your passions..... She gave you fortitude, embraced your wisdom with the utmost respect, and delighted in your everything...

Satinder; I pray that your wife's spirit remains amongst us all. We are so blessed to have shared in your journey and her loving spirit has forever been with us as we all journeyed with you through the JMHS battle. Satinder; as we met on West 140th; I delighted in introducing my Dad, Paul Hill to you. He was visiting an old friend; but it was so awesome for him to meet you. 

I thought about regurgitating the many countless medical things that I endured on behalf of my father's requirements as he journeyed through a decline in his own health to an early demise on January 27th. I would have moved mountains had I been able to to make his life the best it could be as he became more and more ill. Yet; in reality; the traumatic memories I retain of Kavorkian doctors and projected expectations of others regarding a "quality of life" and "suffering" all came to a screeching halt when his body was overcome with the toxicity of the cancer. 

As you enter this journey without your lovely wife; know that you have a family at REALNEO who appreciates you and your works of art and your genuine love for the community at large and all the cats....far beyond words........

As we all wrap our hugs around each other during this trying time of transition; please know that we love you dearly and are keeping you all in our prayers! We remain-REALNEO! 

Gratitude for your sharing; love for your soul; and much respect beyond words..............May God Bless... Blessings. <3 



Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"

What a Grand Tribute!

ANGELnWARD14: Many thanks for a grand tribute! I am sure both Sadie & Ben are dancing with joy. When Sadie was up and about -- and we had a party in the summer -- Ben and Bald Paul (father and son) would entertain the gathering with their songs. The finale of the evening was Sadie dancing and singing: "The Little Beggarman". Sadie was very attached to her brother Ben and never overcame the loss of his sudden death in June 2011. Now, they are together, forever!