John Clarey, 77, lover of the arts, deliverer of memorable May Day baskets, and founder and sole adjudicator of the Ms. Lake Kilgore pageant, died April 11, 2019, only one month after receiving a cancer diagnosis. John never wanted it said he passed peacefully, and while he died in his sleep he fought to the very last. He approached life as an adventure, and led family and friends through it on bicycle and motorcycle, and with the force of his own passion for living. Among many other things, John will be remembered for a laugh that came easily and brought joy to whatever room he was in and for a kindness and generosity of spirit that led him to support his family and friends, and causes dear to his heart. John had a quick wit, a kind nature and an avid interest in learning. To his core, John's values are defined by what he called the Code of the West: 1. Don't do what's wrong, and more importantly do what's right and needs doing. 2. Protect the weak and cherish those you love. 3. Be grateful. He lived those values every day of his life. John is survived by his wife of 33 years, Robyn Hansen; children John Zender Clarey and Bridget Waldeland; sister Kathleen Clarey; and step-sons Nathan (Sarah) and Brian (Nikki Lockhart) Hansen. A connoisseur of relationships, he is further survived by the broad circle of friends who continue to carry fond memories of their times with him. Not least among these were the many Friends of Bill W who were his strength and support for close to 49 years. He is preceded in death by parents John Marshall and Monica Clarey and by sisters Susan Clarey and Joan Sommerville. A celebration of John's life is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, 350 Robert St. N., St. Paul. There is a proverb that says no one is truly dead as long as they are remembered. As such, the family requests that in lieu of memorials you purchase something special for yourself -- preferably a piece of art from a living artist -- and think of John when you see it.
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Published by Pioneer Press on Apr. 14, 2019.