Claire Elizabeth Willis

Print Article

Claire Elizabeth Willis

She’s gone fishin’ —

She was something special to everyone she met...friend, fishing buddy, cribbage opponent, confidant, niece, granddaughter, aunt, daughter, and sister, but she was always our Claire-Bear. Claire Elizabeth Willis was called home on Sept. 9, 2017 at her lakeside cabin in Whitefish. Born in 1982, Claire entered this world the same way she left it, strong. Raised in Billings, MT, she was the youngest of the Willis family. In 2001, she graduated from Billings Central Catholic High School, moving then to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Gonzaga University in 2005 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in literature. She loved everything from violin lessons to softball to reading a great book to the friendships she formed...but she LOVED fishing. After some time in Spokane, Seattle and Oneonta, NY, she decided that Montana was to be her home again and settled in Missoula. Whether it was fishing, hiking, road trips, brewery patios, or family gatherings, no matter the occasion, if Claire was going to be there, you felt drawn to be there as well. She quickly brought out the best in anyone she met; her quick wit and infectious laugh made it worth it.

Claire is preceded in death by her father Fred Willis, sister Seely Grace, brother John Richard, grandfather Jack, grandmother Nancy, and uncle Gordon Willis.

She is survived by her mother, Jenanne Solberg, her two brothers, Austin (Alycia) and Scottie (Sarah), grandparents, Dick and Jane Solberg, niece Audrey and nephew Andrew. She is also survived by a family who provided the absolute best care that anyone could ask for: Chris and Sheryl Solberg (Janssen, Dru, Seely) Sannan Solberg and Angela Zielinski (Nathaniel, Jocelyn, Emily, Morgan) Tina and Bill Corwin (Kristin, Kelly, Taylor, Jamie, Ben, Katie). Our family stood strong, surrounded Claire and each other with love and support, and will maintain the positive message that Claire lived by. Check out her recipe for living a full life:

-You get the family you got. Love them hard, love them long.

-Cook, use good ingredients, and share those meals with friends.

-Choose good friends and make them your tribe forever.

-Cheer for your teams, winning or losing.

-Cast a wide net with your interests.

-Drink good beer!

-Even silly routines count; cultivate comforting ones.

-GO FISHING...LOTS!

Scottie is right, she is gone fishin’.

In lieu of flowers, please send any condolences or memorials in her name to either of the following, which Claire chose, or to the organization of your choice. She has fond memories of Montana Music Institute, Red Lodge Music Festival, Billings Central Catholic High School, and Gonzaga University. Camp Marshall, c/o Claire’s Campers, PO Box 2020, Helena, MT 59624 or https://diomontana.com/donations/ and Life Goes On Scholarship, c/o Whitefish Education Foundation, PO Box 1417, Whitefish, MT 59937.

Austin Funeral Home in Whitefish is caring for Claire’s family.

Print Article

Read More Obituaries

Perry Jay Jacobson

May 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Whitefish Pilot Perry Jay Jacobson was born on Oct. 8, 1957 in Great Falls, Montana, to Evan and Shirley Jacobson. He left us on May 17, 2018 after bravely facing an inoperable brain tumor. His childhood was spent ...

Comments

Read More

Paula J. Stephenson

May 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Whitefish Pilot Paula J. Stephenson, 89, passed away on Saturday, May 19, at the Beehive home in Columbia Falls. She is survived by her children: David Pettengill, Susan Pettengill, Laura Pettengill, and Paul Pette...

Comments

Read More

Robert E. White

May 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Whitefish Pilot Robert E. White, 86, formerly of Elyria, Ohio, passed peacefully at his winter home in Mesa, Arizona, on March 16, 2018. He was born on Oct. 16, 1931 in New Castle, Pennsylvania. He leaves behind h...

Comments

Read More

John J. Atchinson

May 08, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Whitefish Pilot John J. Atchinson, DDS, passed away peacefully on May 2, 2018. John was born in Ticonderoga, New York on January 7, 1935. He was preceded in death by his father Glen Atchinson and mother Frances A...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2018 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X