Patsy Clarambeau 1930 - 2020

Patsy Clarambeau returned to Heaven peacefully, surrounded by her daughters, on July 29, 2020. She was 89 years young. Patsy came into this world in December of 1930 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Our mom was known as strong, capable and feisty throughout her entire life. She was also fun and loved to laugh.

It seemed to her children that she could manage anything that life threw at her—and us, too!

But she was only human and, luckily, she met Bob Clarambeau, her husband of 51 years, who cherished her and was there for her through thick and thin. He would even sit in the “dad chairs” in Nordstrom as she shopped. As kids, it seemed so unfair how dad always took her side in every argument; but as adults, we realize what a well-deserved gift to her that was. We knew when she flashed “those eyes” at us, it was time to wave the white flag. But, most importantly, our mother had a tender vulnerability and her single most important purpose in life was to love and be loved by her family.

She loved music of all kinds, but especially country. She loved to dance, and during holiday gatherings, our whole family would beg her and Dad to dance for us, which they always happily obliged.

She was born at the start of the Great Depression to Ralph and Ruth Wilson. She had a sister, Helen (Miller), who was four years older and preceded her in death. She had a younger sister, Diane Houle. Her father had been injured while tying down a blimp and developed an untreatable bone infection. He died after years of painful disability because penicillin still wasn’t available for commercial use at that time. That is something that changed the course of their family’s life. With the Depression, her father disabled, and her mother working outside of the home, Patsy and her sister Helen had to take on more than the usual share of work for children of their age. They helped their dad, cooked for the family, cleaned house and babysat to bring in money. All these circumstances had a significant impact on forming Patsy’s character and personality.

She’s been a caregiver out of necessity since her early childhood. However, it was a natural part of her and, even as she slipped further into dementia and lost her speech, she still reached out to us smiling with that spectacular big, beautiful smile and smoothed our hair and pushed it behind our ears, hugged us and patted our backs.

Growing up during the Depression and under challenging circumstances brought out the innate strength in Patsy’s personality. She was an incredibly hard worker throughout her entire life. It was almost impossible to get her to sit down, relax, and visit a little bit! She was the Marie Kondo of her generation.

She had lived through tough times, and we, her family, couldn’t stand to see her hurt! It seems we could still see that child’s heart inside her. But my mom was determined from those early years onward to work as hard as she could and encourage the same work ethic in her children to hopefully avoid the hard times of her younger years. She was an involved and loving mother. She taught her children how to be confident in themselves, to respect themselves and others, to be  loyal and trustworthy people and, something she stressed frequently, to be self-reliant. Mom had an unwavering commitment to her family.

After the death of her father, the family moved to California, where her mother, Ruth, worked at the shipyards in Mare Island during World War Two, a true “Rosie the Riveter”! Patsy eventually followed her sister, Helen, to Oregon, where she met Bob.

Patsy had a long and a mostly very happy and healthy life! She was cherished by her husband, Bob Clarambeau, and her children and grandchildren. She loved her home and it was her favorite place to be, cleaning, organizing, gardening, baking, and having her family visit for BBQs, birthdays, holidays, and any other day she could get them there. Her greatest pleasure in life was her family. She was loyal with confidences from her children, and was very unhappy to see us sometimes not get along. She had very firm rules about lying, and many a time we spilled whatever misdeed we had committed, fearing the cover-up would lead to a worse punishment.

She had a mischievous smile and was up for spontaneous fun. She cranked up the music while she cleaned house, opened the windows to the fresh air and liked line-dried sheets on the beds in the summer. She had cut flowers from the yard throughout the house that Dad would bring in for her, and she lived for a scalding hot cup of black coffee. She had cookies in the cookie jar for the grandkids, and also because she liked a cookie with her coffee and newspaper that Dad delivered to her every morning.

She loved a trip to the beach and always had a smile for everyone. After her children were raised and gone, she went to work for Comb’s Market and then Roth’s Fresh Market. Being busy and seeing the regular customers made her happy.

If her grandkids visited, she would play checkers, Matchbox cars or catch, and read stories. She even tried her hand at video games, which definitely guaranteed a win for the grandson! For a big hug and a kiss they had her wrapped around their little fingers. She loved to hear about each of their lives. She made a warm and welcoming home for her family, and she was so proud of each one of us. Patsy was the center of our family, and we will miss her beyond words.

Patsy was preceded in death by her adoring husband, Bob Clarambeau; her daughter, Vicki Day-West; and her sister, Helen Miller. She is survived by her younger sister, Diane Houle of Michigan; her children, Denny Munson of California, Jackie Day-Dix of McMinnville, Oregon, Karla Day-Beesley of Redmond, Oregon, and Kim Clarambeau-Brenner of Camas, Washington; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

All of her family are very grateful for the excellent loving care she and Bob received at Rock of Ages in McMinnville. While living there, she still danced with our dad until he passed in 2016.

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