Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Surrounded by his loving family, Clarence Nathan Hart, a decorated veteran of two wars and respected member of the Palouse community, passed away peacefully on September 29, 2023, at the age of 75.
Clarence was born in Great Falls, Montana on April 1, 1948, the first child of Clarence Edgar Hart and Frances Rossi (Hendrickson) Hart. He grew up in the woods of North Idaho and learned the value of hard work and dedication. After graduating from high school in St. Maries in 1968, he studied auto mechanics at NIJC in Coeur d’ Alene. Clarence also received an Associate Degree while in the Navy. He married his high school sweetheart, Glenda Hill, in December 1969, in Fernwood, Idaho.
Clarence enlisted in the Navy in 1970 and left for boot camp on his 22nd birthday. Six months later, on October 20th, he left for Viet Nam. He was attached to MST2 Det Echo Unit and operated river boats with the Navy Seals. After returning from Viet Nam, Clarence and Glenda started a family in San Diego with the birth of their first son, Jason. Clarence served six years at the Coronado Amphibious Base then he and his family relocated to Hawaii where he was stationed at the Pearl Harbor Sub Base. During his three years at Pearl Harbor, he briefly operated fuel barges before becoming chief engineman on a harbor tugboat. Clarence left active-duty Navy life to return back to his beloved home in the woods of North Idaho where he spent the rest of his life.
Clarence started his second career at Washington State University in 1980 where he was the head of vehicle maintenance for the Housing department. Clarence and Glenda’s youngest son Evan was born in Pullman, Washington.
Clarence continued his military service joining the Naval Reserves in 1979. His family fondly remembers annual summer camping trips at Farragut Naval Base on Lake Pend Oreille, where Clarence and his fellow reservists volunteered in the park. His son Evan remembers his dad making hot dog skewers by the hundreds.
When Operation Desert Storm started in 1990, Clarence was called up to active duty to serve in a Long Beach Naval Reserve unit leaving for Saudi Arabia. He served with the Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit for his six-month deployment. In 1995, Clarence retired from the Navy having attained the rank of Senior Chief.
After a notable 30-year career, Clarence retired from WSU in 2010. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, he embarked on a seven-week road trip across the United States on his Harley. His fondest moments from his journey were visiting Navy brothers he served with during his long career. Clarence and Glenda also racked up many miles on his Harley together. They created “Harts on a Harley” travel cards they would hand out to new friends they met on the road. They rode through Canada visiting Glenda’s relatives. They would also tow the Harley behind their motorhome on their various adventures.
Alaska held a special place in Clarence’s heart. In 1999, he and his son Jason traveled to the wilds of the state on a hunting trip. They had an unforgettable adventure with Jason bagging a bull moose and Clarence getting a giant black bear. Along with their guides, Clarence and Jason had to haul the meat back to camp in the middle of brown bear country. The Alaskan black bear that hangs in Clarence and Glenda’s home is a constant reminder of the shared dream come true for father and son.
Following his wife’s retirement, Clarence and Glenda purchased their dream motorhome. For the next nine years, their motorhome would take them on many grand adventures. The two of them would spend five summers in Alaska hauling giant salmon out of the beautiful Kenai River. One of their most memorable trips in the motorhome was a two-week road trip with their granddaughters. They explored Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands of South Dakota, and Custer’s Last Stand at Little Bighorn. Clarence took pictures of the trip, and his granddaughters documented the amazing experience by making a calendar to hold onto the memories.
In 2014, Clarence and Glenda escaped Idaho winters traveling to Yuma, Arizona. They spent the winter months in a retirement community where Clarence was often found picking grapefruit from his tree. Clarence would haul boxes of grapefruit home to deliver to family and friends in the springtime.
Clarence was always willing to help others, especially when it came to cars. When his daughter in law’s mother, Beverly, found a car she wanted to purchase, she called Clarence for advice. He hopped on his Harley and rode down to the dealership and met Beverly to look the car over. After poking under the hood and kicking the tires, he told her it was a good car and recommended she purchase it.
Clarence would always go out of his way to honor fellow veterans. When he saw someone wearing a military hat, he’d walk up to them, give them a strong handshake, and thank them for their service. He was respected by all who knew him. A close friend from their adventures in Alaska calls Clarence the most patriotic person he knew. He was a true American hero and will be deeply missed.
Clarence’s favorite time of the year was hunting season. Every fall he trekked up to hunting camp above Fernwood, Idaho. He would traipse through the woods chasing elk with his hunting companions Randy and Frank. He passed away at the opening of hunting season. His family finds comfort knowing he’s up at the big hunting camp in the sky.
Clarence is survived by his wife, Glenda; his children, Jason (Nancy) and Evan; granddaughters, Zoey, Kiley, Gloria, and grandson Jackson; and a sister, Linda Hart. He is predeceased by his parents and his brothers Don Hart and Pat Hart, and sisters Georgia Young and Penny Pannell.
While his families’ hearts are broken, Clarence is at peace. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia the last several years of his life, attributed to Agent Orange exposure during his service in Viet Nam. The family wishes to thank the Hill House in Moscow for the compassionate care it provided for Clarence the final two weeks of his life. They also wish to thank Marie Martson with Elite Hospice for her comforting words, care, and support.
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at 11 AM at the Viola Community Center. The family invites all who knew Clarence to join them in remembering him. Lunch will be provided. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Viola Community Center or to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.