(October 19, 1953 – December 3, 2010)
Claire Kelley Yost came into this world on October 19, 1953, and she came to live out loud. She had a wonderful personality, boundless energy, and a bottomless love of life. With these she spread herself both incredibly wide and incredibly deep. She just finally ran out of her special ?Çÿstuff?ÇÖ on December 3, 2010, at the age of fifty-seven. While she was here she touched innumerable lives in many ways and gave endlessly of her caring and friendship. Claire had a real genius for making everyone feel special. She in turn was profoundly rewarded with many loving and thoughtful friends, and she always knew she got back as good as she gave. She was born Claire Denise Kelley in Nelsonville, Ohio, to Richard and Billie (Foughty) Kelley, loving parents who built a close-knit family that was the foundation for her emotional wisdom. Her siblings were Pam (Robert) Bethune, John (Renee) Kelley, and Patrick (Jane) Kelley. Quite sadly, she was predeceased by her brother Patrick. She married Duke Yost on November 7, 1981 because it seemed like a good idea at the time. They were married in San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico. She had two children, Samuel (Laura) Yost, and Caitlin Yost; and was fortunate enough to aquire by merger another daughter Kami Yost and one very special grandchild, Madelaine Molina; and an unusual dog, Sophie. Also important her were aunts and uncles Carol and Howard Williams, Mike Foughty, Ruth and Joe North, and John and Eloise Kelley; cousins Jay Kelley, David Stump-Foughty, Christie Smathers, Mike Foughty, Kim Hostetler, Kelly Frakes, and Melissa Ontweiler. She derived especially great joy from her close relationships with a host of nieces and nephews: Darren, Corrie and Patrick Sean Kelley; Mike, Tammy, Skylar and Kennady Harvey; Drew Kelley; and Kelly, Ron, Kareena and Kalin Markey. She also enjoyed the companionship of a good walking buddy, Sharon Young. Each one knew she had ample love to go around. Her professional life was as a teacher and counselor at Saginaw Arthur Hill High School (her alma mater). She loved and respected her students and recognized each one as individual and unique. They knew that, and because of that she was able to ?Ç£hound them with humor?Ç¥ (as a colleague said) and spur them into reaching for their potential. Typical comments on her facebook page read: ?Ç£If it wasn?ÇÖt for Mrs. Yost?Çª?Ç¥ or ?Ç£Mrs. Yost was the only one who?Çª?Ç¥ or ?Ç£Mrs. Yost believed in me when?Çª?Ç¥ Even more than her multiple teaching awards, she felt rewarded by the love, respect, and appreciation she received back from her students. As a teacher, she was a relentless advocate for those students and spent a great deal of her personal time, energy and resources on their behalf. Some of her stories would break your heart; for her it was a real mission. She also enjoyed widespread respect and affection from her teaching colleagues and administrators, and was an inspiration and role model to many. She retired in June of 2009. Claire was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988 and after two recurrences suffered a metastasis in 2002. Of her twenty-two and one half years living with the disease, she was able to turn over twenty-one of them into pretty darn good ones with the caring help of Dr. Michael Hurtubise, nurse Pam Topor, and the wonderful staff at East Central Oncology. Despite having a built-in excuse, she maintained an unparalleled love of life and took the fullest advantage of her time here. Besides devoting extensive personal time in relation to teaching, she was an active and enthusiastic and member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, both embracing and embodying their belief of acceptance and inclusion. She loved to travel, and did so widely and well. She was also involved in Friends of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, the Saginaw Education Association, and a bewildering array of book clubs and quilting events and activities. Intriguingly, she was a founding member of the Midland Streetwalkers Association (as featured in the MDN). She was a quick and ready volunteer at these and other occasions and she maintained a vital and active presence in this world until shortly before her passing. She always came with her irrepressible smile to warm the room, and she will be sorely missed by the many friends who both sought her out and sustained her. It should stand as great comfort to us all that these many good and beautiful people are still with us. Those wishing to celebrate her life and shed a tear together can do so with visitations at the Smith-Miner Funeral Home on Thursday, December 9th from 2-5pm and Friday, December 10th from 10am-11am. A memorial service will be held at the funeral home on Friday at 11am after the visitation. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, Greg Mortenson?ÇÖs Central Asia Institute (building schools), or the Friends of the Grace A. Dow Library. A special joy and honor to Claire would be for people to perform a ?Çÿrandom act of kindness?ÇÖ; doing several would be even more of an honor. For Claire it was a way of life.