Clarence left us the evening of June 1, 2020, holding the hand of his forever love, Jean.
Clarence was born September 14, 1935 to Crawford and Marie Applegate, the fifth of seven children, just one month before the October 1935 Helena earthquake.
Never afraid of hard work, Clarence held down several jobs throughout his life, many times having more than one job at a time. He worked at Associated Foods where he and Jean met. She wasn’t fond of him at first, but his charming personality and witty sense of humor eventually won her over. They wed on October 29, 1959 in Rawlins, Wyoming and recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The addition of children, Rod and Sharon, completed their family.
After leaving Associated Foods, he went to work at the State Liquor Warehouse. After working 35 years, he retired as the Liquor Warehouse Bureau Chief in 1993.
He lived most of his life on the family ranch in the north valley. He spent many summer hours walking and irrigating the hayfields during the hottest part of the summer to assure a good crop. Rain showers never hit Clarence’s baled hay. Picking bales by headlights was not unheard of! His love for seeing things grow carried over into his volunteer work, which included many years as the Superintendent of Crops and Gardens at the Lewis and Clark County Fair and his personal garden at the ranch. The ranch also provided the ideal spot for hosting family gatherings, which included an abundance of food, laughter and love. Known as “Uncle Bugs” he will be remembered fondly by his many nieces and nephews. He was a big man with a big smile and a wonderful sense of humor. Even in his last days he was joking with the St. Peter’s staff.
Clarence was proud to have been involved in the early establishment of the West Valley Volunteer Fire Department and served as a volunteer fireman with the Department for several years. However, his proudest achievement was his family, whom he adored. Our family was recently honored as the Montana Bowling Family of the Year, an honor he was quite proud of.
He is preceded in death by his parents Crawford and Marie, his mother-in-law and father-in-law Garnette and Ned Cleary, sisters and brothers-in-law, Margaret and Mel King, Relpha and John Gilreath and Cora and Robert VanDyke, brother and sister-in-law Richard and Georgia Applegate, brother-in-law Jerry Groh, nephew Melvin King, Jr. and grandson, Aaron Eslick.
He is survived by his wife, Jean, children Rod Applegate and Sharon Eslick (Gordon), and sisters Nan Tillo (Joe) and Joan Sieler. He is also survived by grandchildren Katie Eslick (Rich Franco), Jordan Paull (Ry), and Amanda Eslick (Jason Smith), great grandchildren Payton Saccheri, Emerson Paull, Hannah Smith, Tanyan and Ari Eslick and soon to arrive Baby Girl Paull. He will also be missed by close family friend, KC Hill, sister-in-law, Sharon Groh, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Ed and Jan Cleary, several cousins and his many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Beehive Homes who provided him love and care over the past year and to the staff at St. Peter’s Health who provided his last days of care.
A public viewing will be held at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home on Tuesday, June 9th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Due to current gathering restrictions, the family will hold private graveside services.