Clara was born on November 11, 1928 to Ben and Mary (Sorensen) Hansen in her parent’s home on the farm near Theodore, Saskatchewan. She grew up there with her two brothers and younger sister. She had loving parents and a large extended family of Aunts, Uncles and Cousins nearby. She attended school in Theodore where she had many friends including some of the Merkley sisters. This is how she met one of their brothers, Albert, a handsome soldier. In her words “I thought he looked pretty good in that uniform.” Albert and Clara were married in 1951. Albert worked for Sask Power and they lived in Grenfell, Oxbow and Invermay, before settling in Springside where they raised 6 children. Clara was a busy mother, cooking, baking, gardening, canning, pickling, sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and a lot of mending and patching. The house was small for such a large family, but always had room for relatives, neighbors; friends of the kids for meals, sleepovers and some even came along on camping trips. The camping trips were a lot of work for her but were some of her favourite memories. She also enjoyed the winters she and Albert spent in Arizona and Texas where she made even more friends. Other memorable trips were going by train through the Rockies to Prince Rupert, British Columbia and an Alaskan Cruise with Carol and Cathy.
In Springside she was involved in several community groups including the United Church Ladies, 4-H (Where she cooked at the summer camp) and the Springside Seniors Center. She also volunteered for the Cancer Society by canvasing in Springside for many years and at the nursing home in Yorkton mending resident’s clothes. She donated hand knit caps for the newborn babies at the Yorkton hospital, and mitts, hats, and scarves to the Salvation Army. After undergoing heart bypass surgery at of 82 years of age, her surgeon told her the best thing she could do for her health was to walk so she organized a walking club and used the town hall to walk laps in the winter. In 2016, she moved into the Bentley retirement home where she made more friends and participated in many of the activities and set many jigsaw puzzles as well as continuing with her knitting and crocheting projects. In January of this year she suffered another fracture which led to her health and mobility declining. She became a resident of the Invermay and Yorkton nursing home where she received excellent and compassionate care until her passing on December 21, 2020 at the age of 92.
Clara was predeceased by her parents, her husband Albert (1996), her brothers Henry and Lorne; sisters-in-law Jean and Gaylene; and brother-in law Terry Paley. On the Merkley side of the family she was predeceased by her in-laws Walter and Alice Merkley; sisters–in-law Norah Stroshein, Margaret Morehouse, Esther Brown, Mae Hoffman, Joyce Yonkman, and brother-in-law Harold Merkley.
Clara is survived by her sister Betty Paley; her children Howard (Katerina), Carol (Garth), Glen (Wendy), Gordon (Barb), Dale (Belinda), and Cathy; grandchildren Alex Johnston, Ben Merkley, Kristy, Matthew and Cassidy Tillman, Elizabeth Ritchie, Melissa Houle, Travis Merkley, Taylor Merkley-Doyer, Bailey Merkley and 6 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by sister-in-law Dorraine Hansen, Helen Burnard (sadly passed away 3 days after Clara), Dorothy Horn, and brother-in-law Jim Merkley as well as many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
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