Claire A. Hooton, 90

Feb. 4, 1928 - March 13, 2018
Claire A. Hooton, 90, Feb. 4, 1928 - March 13, 2018

Residents may recall Claire Ann Hooton as a stylish figure walking sometimes decrepit-looking, dogs on Main Street in East Hampton. She loved animals and had adopted many older, otherwise apparently unwanted, canines over the years from the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. 

Ms. Hooton was 90 when she died at home on Jackson Street, East Hampton, on March 13, having been in declining health for several years. She had led a graceful and creative life. 

She studied the meditative Chinese martial art tai chi ch’üan under the tutelage of Cheng Man-ch’ing, who brought the practice from Zhejiang Province, China, to Manhattan in 1964 and taught Yang-style short form tai chi from his landmark studio in Chinatown in the 1960s and 1970s. Ms. Hooton became the first tai chi instructor certified by the New York State Board of Education, in the 1980s, and taught tai chi at Columbia University, the Princeton Adult School, to adults at the Ross School, and the Stuyvesant Adult Center, as well as instructing private clients.

  She was the author of a series of books and videos on tai chi, including beginner’s and intermediate guides published in the 1990s under the title “The Method T’ai Chi,” and a video called “T’ai Chi for Beginners: 10 Minutes to Health and Fitness.”  

She was also active in the 1980s as a campaigner against nuclear power, coauthoring, for instance, an Op-Ed article in The New York Times in 1982 that cautioned about the dangers of the transport of nuclear waste by land.

Claire Ann Krich was born on Feb. 4, 1928, in Newark N.J., one of two daughters of the former Ruth Weil and Max Krich, who ran a lighting company. Her sister, Edith Krich Comins, died before her. She grew up in Holmdel, N.J., graduating from Columbia High School in nearby Maplewood and then studying theater at Antioch College in Ohio.

After college, Ms. Hooton moved to New York City where she pursued a career on the stage. She was the understudy for Audrey Hepburn in “Gigi” on Broadway in 1951, and a member of the Actors Studio, famous for its instruction in method acting.

She lived for a couple of decades on Grove Street in Greenwich Village and spent summers in East Hampton before eventually moving here year round.

She married Bruce Duff Hooton, an art critic and editor, in 1957. They had a son, Hart Hooton of Manhattan, who survives. The marriage ended in divorce in 1960.

On July 12, 2007, Ms. Hooton married David Myers of East Hampton, a writer she had been living with for at least 20 years. He died on Oct. 26, 2012.

Ms. Hooton was also an artist, working in sculpture and drawing, and her work was exhibited at several East End galleries.

In addition to her son, three stepchildren survive: Coco Myers and Gunnar Myers of East Hampton, and David Myers of the North Fork. Two grandchildren and four step-grandchildren also survive. 

Ms. Hooton was cremated. The family is planning a memorial for the fall. Donations have been suggested for ARF, P.O. Box 901, Wainscott 11975.