Willis Edson Clemans
August 31, 1921 – April 25, 2018
Willis Clemans, 96, of Mill Creek, WA, died at home on April 25, 2018 from the consequences of advanced age, surrounded by several of his children and grandchildren. Bill was a faithful and loving husband, brother, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. He was known as “Willis” by his parents and siblings, and as “Bill” by almost everyone else. Of course, he was also known as “Dad” and “Grandpa” and “Great-Grandpa,” and “Mr. Bill” as well.
Bill was born in a little house in Seattle on August 31, 1921, the first child of Orlo and Lois Clemans. He grew up in Seattle, Richmond Beach, Kenmore, and graduated from Bothell High School in 1941. Bill enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and became a pilot, but was never stationed overseas. After his military discharge, Bill enrolled in the Baking program at Edison Technical College in Seattle. Upon completing the course, he signed on as the cook for a fishing boat that worked in Puget Sound, and also in Alaska.
Bill and a buddy occasionally attended a young-adult recreation facility in Kenmore. (A dance hall is what it was.) One night, he noticed a young woman he recognized. He told his buddy, “There’s my future wife.” Bill and Grace Shaver quickly became reacquainted. They had lived on the same street in Kenmore for a few years as children, and were later in the same Bothell High graduating class. Bill and Grace were married in December 1945.
Bill and Grace had school-age children living in their home for 40+ years – about half of that time in Startup, WA, and the other half of the time in their Mill Creek home.
While living in Startup, Bill and Grace were active in the Startup Baptist Church (now Hillcrest Baptist in Sultan, WA). In 1970, they moved to what is now Mill Creek, and became active in the Silver Lake Community Church, which later became the Mountain View Community Church.
For Bill, a day without fun was a wasted day. He loved humor, and occasionally played jokes on his family and friends. He did teach his children that jokes had to be fun for all parties, and if you “dish it out,” you’d better be ready and willing to “take it.” (At least one of Bill’s children got in trouble at school a few times for copying some of Dad’s jokes on classmates.)
Bill’s father-in-law didn’t always appreciate his humor, but occasionally said, “Your dad is never out of work, and whenever someone needs help with anything, he’s the first one to call.”
Grace preceded Bill in death in July 2010 after 64 years of marriage. Bill is survived by their six children, twenty grandchildren, several honorary grandchildren, many great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; many in-law family members; and a host of dear friends. He is also survived by two of his seven sisters and three of his five brothers.
A memorial, commemorating a long life of fun and service, will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 4, at the Mountain View Community Church, 12033 Seattle Hill Road, Snohomish, WA, 98296.
- Graveside Service Thursday, May 3, 2018
- Memorial Service Friday, May 4, 2018