Mary Clare Paris: April 9, 1954 – Aug. 18, 2019



Mary Clare Paris, former Whidbey resident, passed away at her home in Okanogan, Wash., on Aug. 18, 2019. She was surrounded by her loving family.

During her three-year struggle with cancer, she never lost the positive nature and upbeat attitude that she was so known for.

Clare was born in North Seattle in 1954 to Marshall and Nancy Paris. The eldest of five children, Clare attended Bothell schools until the family moved to Clinton, Wash., on Whidbey Island, in 1970. Graduating from Langley High School in 1972, she attended WSU for two years before returning to work at her father’s insurance company in Bothell. She then moved back to Whidbey Island, where she became the first woman welder for Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, an accomplishment almost unheard of in the 1970s.

In the early 1980s, she met Tom Mulgrew and moved with him to the Okanogan Valley, where the were married in 1982. Always having had an interest in journalism, Clare worked for the Gazette-Tribune newspaper in Tonasket.

Known professionally as M. Clare Paris, she received an award from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for a story she wrote. She later worked for the Omak-Okanogan Chronicle after they moved to Okanogan. Clare was a homesteader and an activist. She helped create and run a newsletter called “Twisted Knickers.”

She had three daughters with Tom. In the mid-90s, they divorced but remained good friends forever. Clare was always grateful for Tom’s loving and attentive co-parenting.

Clare and Sam Howell were married in 1997, and Clare gained two more daughters. She brought her homesteading skills in food preservation, keeping small livestock and cheese-making and added these to Sam’s love of vegetable gardening. After a time, Clare became a professional cheese maker with her own farmstead cheese business. With Sam as the milker and livestock manager during the milking season, Clare handled the spring birthing, making and aging the cheese, and marketing. Clare and her fine cheeses were beloved at several farmers markets and retail shops.

Clare had a deep faith that could not be expressed in any creed or doctrine. She knew that nothing could ever separate her from the love that created her. Her goal in life, even throughout the trials of her last few months, seems to have been to help others feel good about themselves.

Some 15 years ago, Clare rekindled her 1980s relationship with Trinity Episcopal Church in Oroville, and she enjoyed the warmth of those friendships, until her passing

Clare is survived by her husband, Sam Howell, of Okanogan; three daughters, Aly (Brandon) Lovejoy, of Omak, Nancy (Patric) Koop, of Chelan, and Carrie Beth Parigrew, of Chelan; two stepdaughters, Veronica Oh Happy, of Tacoma, and May Keli Vidrine, of Seattle; grandchildren Isabella, Natalie and Thomas; siblings, Pixie (David) Rowe, of New Zealand, George, of Clinton, Peter, of Ellensburg, and Patrick, of Los Angeles; her mother, Nancy Paris, of Coupeville; and nieces and nephews around the world.

She was preceded in death by her father, Marshall.

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