Claudette Rachel Pais, age 81, of Palm Desert, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on December 7, 2022. Claudette was born to Jeannie and Patrick Xavier Bigras in Timmins, Ontario, Canada. Claudette emigrated to the United States and initially settled in Santa Monica, California, where she met her husband, Alfred Pais. They were married in 1965 and had two children, Louise and Frank. Claudette moved to the Coachella Valley following her husband’s passing in 1996. She was enthusiastic about politics, horse racing, and volunteerism. She served as a Parks & Recreation Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica and as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Rancho Mirage. She was the Los Angeles Chair, Pete Wilson for US Senate and Governor of California, and the Coachella Chair, Jeff Stone for California State Senate. She was a frequent poll worker greeting voters during elections at Rancho Mirage City Hall. She and her husband enjoyed breeding and racing harness horses and she was a trailblazer in the industry. She was the founding President of Golden Bear Raceway in Sacramento, California, the founding President of Standardbred Owners of California, Director of Stockholder Relations for Hollywood Park, and served on the Committee and Subcommittee for Off-Track Wagering for the California Horse Racing Board. She also was an advisory council member for the Racetrack Industry Program at the University of Arizona and recognized as a Kentucky Colonel. Claudette gave back to her community and volunteered her time for several local organizations, including the Indian Wells Rotary Club, the Palm Springs Desert Museum, College of the Desert, Canadian Club of the Desert, and the World Affairs Council of the Desert. She also served as a Board Member and Secretary for the Rancho Mirage Library Foundation & Observatory. Claudette was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred, her mother and father, Jeannette Marie (Labelle) and Patrick Bigras. Claudette is survived by her two children, Louise and Frank, her son-in-law, Chip, daughter-in-law, Yuko, and her four grandchildren, Ben, Sam, Joe, and Luca. Claudette will be remembered for her strength and fighting spirit. She will be forever missed by her loving family and always remembered in their hearts. Services will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery in the Holy Redeemer Chapel in Culver City, California, on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 9:30 am In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Rancho Mirage Library Foundation & Observatory in her name.
Posted online on December 31, 2022
Published in The Desert Sun