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Claudia Mae (Sanford) Louden passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 29th, 2014.

Claudia was born on November 14, 1951, in Mount Vernon, WA. She graduated from Burlington High School in 1970, and was a life-long resident of Skagit County.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Claude and Zola Sanford and her father-in-law, Richard Louden.

Claudia's family and friends were the central part of her life. She leaves behind her husband Jeff, who has been her steadfast companion for 35 years; her daughter and son-in-law Kristi and Alan Close and her grandson Lincoln Close who she affectionately referred to as her "Honey Bunny"; step-daughter and son-in-law Laurie and Chris Newman and her two granddaughters Cassidy and Isabel Newman; her dear friends Barb DePoppe and Joan Austin; her mother-in-law Gloria Louden of Friday Harbor; all of her friends and co-workers at the DNR, where she'd had a career for over thirty years; her "Skagit Girl" buddies; and countless other friends and relatives that she loved dearly. There are many people that call Claudia their best friend.

Claudia was such an extraordinary person who had a positive outlook and fun-loving personality. She was blessed with a gift of gab and the ability to raise the spirits of those around her. Claudia cared deeply for her family and friends, and had a way of making you feel very important. If you needed her help, she would be there. She had a very generous heart and always took pleasure in going overboard with gifts for those she cared for on any occasion.

Claudia was so proud of her daughter, Kristi. Their mother-daughter bond was a very close and special one, and they took immense joy in each other. Claudia was a devoted daughter-in-law, calling her mother-in-law every single day after her father-in-law passed away.

She had a love of nature, but hated bees - as anyone who had seen her around one could attest! She spent many summers growing a beautiful garden and canning fruits and veggies, and every winter she would transform her home and Christmas tree into a wonderland of snowmen. She loved any excuse to eat out or go shopping, and went through many phases of finding a fondness of a particular color and then buying every kind of clothes and accessory in that hue until her next color came around.

She had a special place in her heart for animals, especially her pets and her "grand-puppy" Millie. She enjoyed traveling, recently spending time in Hawaii with Jeff, taking several trips to Las Vegas with friends, and in the past having special weekend getaways and shopping trips with Kristi.

A celebration of Claudia's life will be held Saturday, July 12, 2014, 11:00 am at Hawthorne Funeral Home followed by a reception in the Hawthorne Reception Room.

Please share your thoughts of Claudia and sign the online guest register at

Arrangements are under the care of Hawthorne Funeral Home, 1825 E. College Way, Mount Vernon.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on July 3, 2014
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