Kind, creative, and tireless, she cared for family and friends with all her soul.
June Vincent McClure passed away Monday morning May 7, 2018 at about 11:30, just a couple of weeks short of her 96th birthday. While her last ten days were a struggle, she had a constant flow of family and friends coming in and out of her room, and family was there, holding her hand, as she left us at last.
June was full of kindness and generosity and love. She could not stop feeding and giving and trying to make you comfortable. She loved conversation and was curious about everything. Family was June's driving force, so it's no surprise she leaves behind her three sons, eleven grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren.
June was born in Kansas, and her folks named her Myrtle June Vincent, so naturally, she went by June. She was the middle of 9 children and the youngest girl. During the depression the family packed up all their belongings and kids into a car and two trucks and moved to the northwest. The journey took weeks, and her dad, an accomplished mechanic, traded auto repairs for food along the way. June's sister, Helen, kept a little journal of the trip. One entry said merely, “We had rhubarb for dinner tonight.” Her dad and older brothers worked in logging camps and the rest of the family worked the fields and other odd jobs. Eventually they bought a house in Kent.
When she was 14 she lied about her age and got a job working the assembly line at a frozen food factory. She said she had to stand in box to keep her feet warm. She and Joe married in July of 1940 right after graduating from Kent High School and moved to Spokane. Their first son, Joey (who we all know as Vince) came along in August of 1943. Joe came back from the war and returned to work at the family moving and storage business. Terry was born in 1947.
Not long after, their young family began traveling around the country, living not only in Spokane, Kent, and Alderwood Manor, Washington but in the San Francisco Bay area, on Oahu, in southern California, and in northern Alabama. They'd picked up their youngest son, Wally while living in Hawaii. They returned home to Kent in 1968. Twice, at least, she drove solo across the country in a car with a kid or two, and a dog or a cat or both, stopping to see sites along the way, to start a new home in a new town. Somehow it worked out to be winter both times.
Off and on, June worked in factories, wiring and soldering everything from phones, to fuel tanks for the space program, to computer equipment, and finally airplanes at Boeing. She retired from Boeing soon after Joe passed away in 1983. She won several awards from Boeing for ideas she had about how to do things differently, and she thought it was especially funny when the engineers would come watch her work and explain how their designs weren't practical on the assembly line.
Maybe you'd think that she'd be traveled out after all that moving, but her oldest sister Freda moved in after Joe died and the two of them traveled around the country and to England and Scotland. She also found her way to Italy and Greece. Her insatiable curiosity about people and how they thought and what they believed made her mind race her whole life.
She was a Master Gardner, working in her own garden every day, growing vegetables and flowers and fruit trees and berries. Her shelves were full of canning jars packed with beans and beets and pickles, and her freezer was stuffed with bags of par boiled everything. Flowers graced her tables and potted plants and little starts filled about every spare flat space in the house. She loved Hawaii because, she said, you could put a stick in the ground and it would grow, and she struggled mightily in the red Alabama clay and still managed to bring it to life. But her most remarkable gardens were in the rich soil of the Kent valley. No matter where, though, she found peace and purpose in the garden year round.
Likewise she always had pets. She kept both cats and dogs but was especially fond of dogs – mostly because they were fanatical at both eating and loving. I cannot think of a time when we did not have a dog. While she watched a little television – especially Bonanza and Gunsmoke and whatever “whodunit” was popular at the moment, she read with an insatiable appetite; she read mysteries and thrillers mostly, though occasionally she would branch out to stories about far away places by the likes of Pearl S. Buck or James Michener.
Not only did she care for Joe during his long battle with cancer, but in quick succession she cared for her mother, Joe's mother, her sister Freda, and her sister Helen. One after another she cared for each of them as long as she could in their last years.
And then she found herself alone in Kent. She had friends there, but her family was all elsewhere. She decided to move to Lacey and spent the last 13 years of her life living independently in a little house on Wally and Patricia's property. She had a nice view of Mount Rainier and Lake Pattison and the sunrises were amazing. Every morning she would fix coffee and share breakfast with family. No one can say her life was easy – I don't think she ever had an easy time – but you would never know it by how she acted.
Always kindness. Always generous. Always caring. She is missed and loved and remembered by so many, and we are all so much better off by having known her.