Claire was raised in Manti, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University and then taught music at an elementary school in Provo, Utah. She later went to New York City to pursue advanced studies in vocal music. While there she met G. William Richards whom she married in the Manti Temple in August 1955. The Richards had five children.
In 1997 the first written work that Richards ever submitted for publication, an article about Christmas Music, was published in the Deseret News.