Clara Ann Virden-Williams was taken from us too soon as she passed away at the age of 11 on January 29th, 2024, at home, in Gilbert, Arizona. She was born September 27, 2012 in Loma Linda, CA to her parents Frank and Emily. Clara was a fun and loving child that filled everyones’ heart with joy whenever they met her. The older sister to Lily Mae who together shared in many memories and added so much fun to their house.
Clara’s memorial service will be held at 3:30pm on Wednesday, February 14th at Gilbert Memorial Park, 2100 E. Queen Creek Road, Gilbert AZ 85297. Preceding the service at 3pm there will be a Reflection Period to say your personal goodbyes. Per Clara’s request, please wear light blue/teal, instead of black. Also, whenever people gather in remembrance of her, she wants them to eat marshmallows (S’mores count too) and play some country music. Her favorites artists at this time were Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Luke Combs, Chris Stapleton and Morgan Wallen.
Clara is survived by her parents, Emily and Frank, Sister, Lily Mae, Grandparents, Gary and Beth Virden, Ron (Willie) and Barb Williams. Aunts and Uncles Heather and Todd Prater, Nick and Sarah Williams, Rocco and Natalie Williams and Angie Williams. Cousins, Brody, Bella, Brady, Bailey, Mila, Giada and Leo.
Clara enjoyed all things soft and cuddly which was evident in her room filled with stuffies that she would often get lost in. Animals were something she had a sweet affection for and would love visiting with all the neighborhood cats and dogs or stopping by a pet store to see what cute creatures were around. She loved to play in her front yard tree swings, riding bikes and, most of all, rollerblading. She enjoyed playing many different card and board games with her family including Uno, Catan, Exploding Kittens, and Yahtzee Free for All. When asked what she wanted people to say in remembrance about her, Clara said, “I was funny.” She also wanted her family to know, “That I’ll always be there for them.” As was Clara, a sweet, thoughtful, deeply empathetic and amazing person.
Clara’s life was filled with medical complications and procedures. Beginning at birth with a stay in the NICU followed by three separate instances of Germ Cell Cancer diagnosis at 18 months, 7 years and 9 years old. All which allowed her and family to gain uncomfortable familiarity with the Loma Linda, Mayo Clinic, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Systems. Here she received numerous chemotherapies, surgeries, radiation, scans, and medical care. Eventually the disease took over her life, which led to her death. Through it all, the nurses, doctors, counselors, and child life/playroom teams eased the ache of such a painful time.
While her medical issues caused much stress, it did provide an opportunity to be a part of communities and charities. From her “Make a Wish” trip to Disney World to numerous family retreats supported by local charities, many cherished family memories were made. Some local charities and organizations that support her family with gifts, playtime, getaways, and events are Children’s Cancer Network, Hope Kids, Lily’s Pad, CHAMP, Amanda Hope, and Kameron’s Krusaders, to which the family will be forever grateful.
Clara spent her entire school life in Neely Traditional Academy in Gilbert, where the faculty and staff provided her with a wonderful support system. She created beautiful friendships with her peers and adults alike. The family is eternally appreciative of all of the love and support from their Neely Family. Clara will forever be missed. The family could never say enough how thankful they are for all of the showering of support, kindness, and love they have received over the years. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, remembrances be made through donations to Children’s Cancer Network, Donate – CCN and Lily’s Pad, Donate Today | Lily’s Pad Please use this space as a place to share memories and photos of Clara as we grieve her loss together. We all love you, Clara