Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Jeffrey Laird Claflin | Pianist, 54

Jeffrey Laird Claflin, 54, of Ambler, a pianist and organist, died of lung cancer Nov. 29 at Chestnut Hill Hospital.

Mr. Claflin could pick out tunes on the piano at the age of 4, several years before he began taking lessons, said his sister, Nancy. He graduated from Abington High School, where he played the piano for school productions; on Sundays, he played the organ in a local church.

He attended Susquehanna University for a year, then studied for a year at Philadelphia Musical Academy, now the University of the Arts, where one of his teachers was pianist Susan Starr. For several years, he played in clubs and piano bars and at private parties in Philadelphia before moving to Manhattan in 1980.

In 2004, he returned home, his sister said. He was tired of New York's fast pace and nightlife and wanted to slow down, she said. For the last several years, he had been organist and choir director of Jarrettown United Methodist Church.

He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway theater, his sister said, and enjoyed crossword puzzles. He was a member of the Order of Founders and Patriots of America, his ancestors having arrived in Massachusetts from Scotland in 1652.

In addition to his sister, Mr. Claflin is survived by his mother, June Claflin. His brother, Leander "Biff" Claflin, a well-known church organist and concert artist, died in 1997.

A memorial service will be at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at Abington Presbyterian Church, 1082 Old York Rd., Abington.