October 18, 1926 - January 26, 2020
Clella Mae Hancock, 93, recently of Hillsboro and long-time former resident of Portland, died peacefully in her sleep on January 26, 2020.
Clella Mae was born October 18, 1926 in Maryville, Missouri, the second daughter of Lester A. Masters and Edna Fern Masters (née Hilsabeck). She graduated from Maryville High School in 1944, and immediately moved with her family to Oregon, where her father had joined the war effort working in Portland’s shipyards. Though she never returned to live in the Midwest, she took great pride in her small town roots throughout her life.
Arriving in Portland at the height of World War II, Clella Mae began working in the shipyards aside her father, but soon enrolled in the Good Samaritan School of Nursing, where she served as Cadet Nurse in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps (CNC) while completing her education to become a Registered Nurse. She went on to work first for Good Samaritan Hospital, and later at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital, where she stayed until she retired from nursing in 1983,
Clella Mae will be remembered for her delicious pies and cobblers, her quick wit and infectious laugh, her perpetually-stocked chocolate stash, her unfiltered perspectives, and her lifelong love affair with her forever boyfriend and beloved husband, Robert.
From her earliest years, Clella Mae had great passion for dancing. She started tap dancing lessons when she was five, after seeing Shirley Temple dance in a movie, and dancing held an important place in her life from that time on. Whether she was tapping or jitterbugging or square-dancing or showing off her shimmy in the vegetable section at Fred Meyer, she always did so with gusto.
It was dancing that brought her together with her eternal companion. In 1949, while attending a weekly dance at Janzen Beach in Portland, she met her future husband, Robert. Clella Mae loved to tell the story of how Bob asked her to marry him on the first night they met. (“I told him he was crazy,” she’d always say.) After six months, she finally gave in, and they were married in June of 1949.
Clella Mae and Bob were both outdoorsy, and spent many hours hiking the trails of the Pacific Northwest together. Clella Mae had been a Girl Scout as a child in Missouri, during the early years of the movement, and grew up to become an active supporter of youth organizations. She was an Eagle Scout Mom, worked as a summer camp nurse, and served as a Camp Fire Girls group leader, where she passed on her love of nature, as well as many of the camping and outdoor skills she had learned as a Scout.
Clella Mae also had a great compassion and affection for animals, especially dogs. In her final years, everyone who knew her also knew Teddy, the devoted little white poodle who was her constant companion for over a decade.
Clella Mae was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, in 2006. She is survived by her son Lester A. Wilson of Ames, Iowa; daughter Renée (Hancock) Butcher of Hillsboro, Oregon; grandsons Kevin and Iain Wilson; granddaughters Leisha Babayan, Grace John, and Olivia, Laura, and Emily Huskey; great-grandchildren Kyah, Hannah, and Arie; and beloved dog, Teddy.
To honor Clella Mae’s great love of animals, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to the Oregon Humane Society.
A funeral service for Clella Mae will be held at 2:00pm Saturday, February 8th, 2020 at Omega Funeral Services, 223 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, Oregon, 97233. CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS
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