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Clare Almquist

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Clare Almquist Obituary
CLARE ALMQUIST, 93 ROCKFORD - Clare Almquist died on Friday, March 28, 2014, in Presence Saint Anne Center. Daughter of Theodore and Belle Nichols Arneson, Clare was born December 14, 1920, in Slope County, ND. Early life on her parents' homestead near the Badlands was a source of valuable life lessons that led to a steadfast resilience and compassion for others that was exhibited throughout her life. Clare met her future husband while attending summer school at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL; moving to Rockford soon after. She married Stanley "Kip" Almquist at Pierce Congregational Church in North Dakota on Dec. 30, 1946 and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary shortly before his passing. Her husband's death in 1997 and her son, Leonard's death in 2000, both to cancer, changed her life profoundly. Clare was a proud graduate of both Dickenson State Teachers College in North Dakota with her B.A.; and later Rockford (College) University with an M.A. in Education. She was the first person to graduate magna cum laude from Rockford College's evening program in 1961; all while raising three children and teaching full-time. Beginning in a one-room schoolhouse in rural North Dakota, she went on to teach for 38 years; mainly in first grade and finally as a Master Teacher in the Rockford public school system. She was a member of Second Congregational UCC/First Presbyterian Church since 1946 and a Life Member of Sons of Norway, elected as the first woman to serve as District Five President. While strongly connected to her father's Norwegian heritage, in later years Clare's genealogy pursuits allowed her to learn more about her mother's ancestry through the NSDAR and Mayflower lines; using her research as a reason for travel. After retirement in 1983, she filled her life with family, friends, gardening and bridge; enjoying time to volunteer both at church and with local community organizations. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her. Clare is survived by son, Dean Almquist of Roscoe, IL; daughter, Sheryl Hall of Rockford, IL; sister, Ellen Arneson of Flagstaff, AZ; brother and sister-in-law, Gus (Dorothy) Almquist of Fairfield, CA; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, husband, son, four brothers and one sister. The family would like to thank the staffs of Swedish American Heart Hospital, Presence Saint Anne Center, In-Home Personal Service, Serenity Hospice Care, and the community of Siena on Brendenwood, where Clare resided for the last nine years. A private memorial service will be held with burial at Sunset Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers and memorials, please give to a in her name. Sunset Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens helped the family, www.sunsetfhmemgardens.com.
Published in Rockford Register Star from Apr. 1 to Apr. 2, 2014
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