Carmen Ainslie McClelland, 103, went peacefully to the angels on April 22. She was born in Hermosillo, Mexico, and came to the U.S when she was 4. Growing up in Los Angeles her father, Charles, was a judge and her mother, Maria Fimbres, took care of nine children.

She married Robert Joseph McClelland, from Butler, Pennsylvania, a foreman in the composing (printing) room of the Herald Examiner, on Dec. 1, 1951. Carmen held the family together with her independent spirit when the Examiner went on strike and she returned to work, while Bob was able to use his union journeyman’s card to work at The Pasadena Star News, The Hollywood Racing Forum and other papers. Their adventures led them to Boardman, Ohio for a year and eventually back to Glendale. Bob and Carmen were married 51 years before his death in 2002.

Carmen shared her passion for life with young girls as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader. She enriched many other students as an ESL teacher at Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Roosevelt Jr. High in Glendale, California. Like her mother and sisters, she was a seamstress who sewed many of her daughter’s clothes, including her first mini-skirt, prom dress and maternity tops, as well as curtains and bassinet covers. She loved to play bridge and belonged to the Cabrini Literary Guild at Incarnation Church in Glendale and was president for two years.

In 2011, she moved to Brookings to live with her daughter, Nancy McClelland and son-in-law, Kevin Bane. She composed a song on the piano, “Keep Me in Your Dreams” that was once played by Xavier Cugat (and recently played for her birthday March 1 at Vista Pub by Jerry Moffitt). Her favorite books were romance and mystery stories. She enjoyed going to concerts and plays with her favorite composers being Chopin, Strauss, Rossini and Beethoven.

She still played the piano at 103 and had composed another song about a fox kit that didn’t want to come in out of the rain. Her family remembers her playing “Que Sera, Sera” (What Will Be Will Be) and “La Cucaracha.” She could pick out the chords to any song she knew. Her family will always hear her songs echoing in their hearts. She loved to eat, especially her birthday lobster, coconut cream pie...her home baked cookies, apple pies and lemon tarts and persimmon cookies from her garden. She enjoyed watching the deer grazing in the pines and sunsets on the sea and the mountains. She will forever be remembered for her fierce love for her family, her generous heart and her kindness to animals. Along with the enjoyment of food, she once said that her long life involved letting go of anger.

Fly to the angels, Carmen and your selfless love will come back to us and to you when you meet your family — we will always love you.

She will be greatly missed by many cousins, nieces, nephews; her son, Kieren McClelland, and his two daughters, Hannah and Aliah; her daughter, Nancy, and son-in-law Kevin, and their children, Mariseth and Randy, Randy’s wife Erin and one great-grandson, Cian.

The family would like to say thank you to the fantastic volunteers at the Activity Center’s Time Out For Me program, who made every Monday a special day… to Mary Fox for her kindness and to the medical professionals who cared for Carmen.

A Celebration of Life Mass will be held Saturday, May 11 at 10:30 a.m. (Rosary at 10 a.m.) at Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Brookings.

Another family celebration will be held in Southern California in August.

The family would be honored if donations in her memory were sent to St. Mary’s Academy, 701 Grace Ave., Inglewood, CA 90301 (www.smabelles.org) class="s2">—

Submitted by the family

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