The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Joan Laverne Clemens - 1935-2016



Longtime Seward resident, Joan Clemens, 80, passed away peacefully Feb. 17, 2016 in a care facility in Yuma, Arizona.

Joan (nee Spooner) was born July 11, 1935 in Crosby, North Dakota to Louis and Gladys Spooner. She grew up in nearby Noonan, North Dakota where she and her high school sweetheart, Dale Clemens, married in 1956. She received her registered nurse degree in Minot, North Dakota and in 1968 she and Dale along with their two young sons, Mike and Mark, loaded up the family station wagon and headed to Seward. Dale secured a teaching/coaching position at Seward High School while Joan took an registered nurse employment at Seward General Hospital.

In 1975, Dale and Joan bought The Fish House, a sporting goods store located in the Seward Small Boat Harbor. The Fish House kept her so busy that she decided to leave nursing (for a while) and concentrate on running the family business. Joan purchased the store inventory, was great at telling fishermen which bait and lures were "hot" and directing folks to the choice spots in Resurrection Bay where they could limit out.

They also opened an ice cream shop next door to the Fish House and Dale named it "Finleys" (his pet name for Joan). It evolved into the "Salmon Cache" where, over the years, they employed many local high school students in the summer.

Joan was a creative thinking Alaskan woman who would air drop care packages to her husband and boys in the Chugach Mountains while on their annual hunting trips.

After Dale's death in 1989, she went back to work at Wesleyan Nursing Home in Seward where she retired.

For her entire life she loved and followed sports. She attended all the Seward High School games in which her boys and later grandkids participated. Her TV was always tuned to a baseball, basketball or football game.

After retirement, Joan divided her time between Seward and Yuma. She loved to read and could be found checking out five to seven books a week from the library. She played pinochle and bridge with friends and kept up an active life until 2014 when she suffered a stroke.

She is survived by her sons Mike Clemens, Mark Clemens and his wife Karla Jo, her beloved grandchildren, Chris Clemens and his wife Samantha Clemens, Logan Clemens, Kiana Jo Clemens, Oceana Clemens and Cody Clemens. Also surviving her is former daughter-in-law Kristi Larson, her brothers, Glenn Spooner and wife Barbara, and Neal Spooner and wife Cathy, sisters-in-law, Neola Cross and Marietta Clemens, brother and sister-in law Boyd and Barb Clemens, along with many cherished nieces and nephews.

Later this spring, a flotilla will gather and spread her ashes at Pony Cove, where she loved to salmon fish – a very fitting place for this lovely Alaskan woman.


Reader Comments

Becky writes:

Our condolences to the Clemens family. We were lucky to have worked with the Clemens family through the Fish House and to have them as friends. Sincerely, Monty Richardson and the late Florita Richardson (Irish Lord Charters) Becky (Richardson) Thario and family


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