Our beautiful Mother, Wife, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and Friend passed away peacefully on March 13th, 2014 from Alzheimer's related causes.
Dorothy Elaine Clawson was born on September 29, 1937, to Jack and Dorthea Clawson in Lincoln Nebraska. After several moves, with her father's Air Force assignments, the family settled in Vancouver Washington in 1947. Elaine and her sister Beverly were active in the First Congregational Church youth group and Girl Scouts. Elaine graduated from Vancouver High School in 1955, and attended Clark College.
Elaine met her husband, Ed, while they were in Junior High School and involved in the church youth group. They were married in the First Congregational Church in Vancouver, Washington on August 25, 1956 and have enjoyed 57 wonderful years of marriage. They started life together in Texas, where her husband Ed was a student at Texas A&M and their first daughter, Debi was born. After graduation, they moved to Ft. Lewis Washington, where Ed began his Military career. Their second daughter Cari was born and Elaine enjoyed being at home with her children. While in Washington, Elaine began a long career of volunteering to help serve the needs of others, including soldiers and their families. Ed and Elaine's journey took them to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii where their third daughter Jody was born.
Through many moves across the U.S. and Europe, and twice while Ed was in Vietnam, Elaine was very involved in raising her three daughters, always participating in their school and scouting activities, all while continuing to volunteer in different capacities. Elaine also served humbly in leadership roles with the Military wives clubs.
After retirement from the Army, they became very active in the Lions Club, where Elaine continued her community service in both Salem and in Eugene, Oregon. While Ed served on the Lions Clubs International Board, they traveled throughout the United States and to many countries abroad. In 1995 Elaine began volunteering with the Sacred Heart Hospital Guild in Eugene, where she continued to serve those in need until she was unable to work due to Alzheimers. She loved volunteering and it was very difficult for her to give that up.
Elaine could best be described by her love of the beauty in her world and the world around her. Her love for people was best shown by the fact that she never said a bad word about anyone. Her love of people was closely matched by her love of animals. Elaine graciously took in and helped care for whatever stray animals her daughters brought home, in addition to family pets.
Elaine was a loving, caring woman who was truly kind and gentle. We are reminded of Elaine’s view of the world by the passage from a book called “The Blessings of Beauty” by Graham Porter. “Without beauty as our guide, we can mistake the art of having for the art of living, only to discover that when our shades are drawn and our lights are out, we lack the riches of inner content. Without beauty as our friend, we cannot fully develop our capacities for sensing, learning, aspiring – for Loving and being worthy of Love in return.”
Elaine Gear was loved by all who knew her and will be missed greatly as she has been described by many family, friends and acquaintances as an Angel on Earth and a Great Lady.
Elaine is survived by her husband Edward R. Gear, three daughters, Debi Vodvarka (Dan), Cari Garrigus, and Jody Shaner (Charles). Also by, her sister Bev Boydstun (Ken), 8 Grandchildren, 6 Great Grandchildren, nieces, nephews and her beloved dog, Max. She is preceded in death by her grandson, Kyle Garrigus.
A public Celebration of Life will be held at Valley River Inn on April 13th, 2014 from 1 - 4 PM. In lieu of flowers, Elaine’s wishes would be for donations to be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Sacred Heart Hospice, or the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation.