Clare Ann Key

Clare Ann Key of Tonasket, Wash. died Oct. 26, 2022. She was born on Nov. 6, 1947, in Marshfield, Wisc.

Clare Key

Clare Key

It is with great sadness that Clare Ann Key of Tonasket passed away on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, at North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, Washington, following a long-fought battle with a very rare condition.

She is survived by a daughter, Diane McAlear; two sisters, Sara Key Hay and Nancy Key Bardeleben and their children, Julie Hay Shepler (Mark) son Alex, Todd Miller (Licia) and Jennifer Miller Hertrich (Joe) son Drew.

Clare was born on November 6, 1947, in Marshfield, Wisconsin. She moved west with her family, parents Barney and Carol Key in 1961, settling in Tacoma, Washington. Clare graduated from Wilson High School in Tacoma in 1965. She continued her education at Western Washington University.

Clare eventually met and fell in love with Michael Godfrey. After their marriage on March 22, 1975, they lived in Burien, Washington. During those years, Clare worked nearby for the Boeing Company.

In the late 1970s, Mike and Clare relocated to Loomis, Washington, but eventually moved to an old farmstead in Aeneas Valley outside of Tonasket. Following a “friendly” divorce from Mike years later, she then bought a property on Long Lake in Aeneas Valley. She eventually built her own house there, always cherishing the solitude and wildlife.

Until her health worsened about three years ago, she was forced to relocate to town. About two years ago, she moved to her current residence in Tonasket where a multitude of her cherished friends have provided support and the care she needed in the last years of her life.

Many comments have come forward to this writer (Nancy, Clare’s sister) that I’d like to mention:

• Clare had a huge heart. She would go to extremes to help others.

• She was deeply empathetic; she would be there for you in your crisis.

• She saw good in everyone.

• Clare never forgot a friend’s birthday including their dogs.

• She loved all animals, as well as horseback riding in the back country.

• She was never without her camera and always taking pictures.

• She enjoyed kayaking on the lakes in Okanogan.

Clare loved and cherished freedom, but even after her decline in health took many of her freedoms away, she stayed positive and always looked forward to the next day.

She was a great letter writer and kept in contact with friends who long moved out of the area.

She will be sorely missed by her interest groups, one being the Tonasket Book Club.

Clare was forever grateful for the help she received from friends and family during her illness. She wrote email letters to give praise and thanks for the help. Her heart and kindness were bigger than life.

Clare especially looked forward to every Wednesday when she visited Ken and Deanna’s place to pick up her farm fresh eggs! The dogs, critters and kids who greeted her became a special highlight in her week. She loved the birds, flowers, bunnies and all the activities going on there.

Next spring, Clare will have a Celebration of Life with cousins in Wisconsin at the family’s cemetery where her ashes will be spread next to her parents’ gravesites. A local Celebration of Life is planned for next spring or summer in the Tonasket area.

Bergh Funeral Service & Crematory is in care of arrangements.