09/27/2012 - 01/29/2024
Service Date: 02/14/2024
Service Time: 3:00PM
Service Location: Gilbert Memorial Park

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


  • Ritina Fleming-Rodriguez & Family

    Our deepest condolences during this time. Clara-Love, your fighting spirit and your smile through all things, is an inspiration to all those who were blessed to know you. You are deeply loved, you WILL always be deeply loved. Thankyou for the memories that we all had the chance to make with you. We love you Clara-Love! Forever you are engraved in our hearts. We love you too Em, Frank & Lily Mae!

  • Chuck & SueLohenry

    Our hearts and prayers go out to all the Williams family. It’s been a long journey but Clara has shown all of us the way to handle that very difficult journey with her unbelievable faith. And we love her comment that she will be there always for her family. May she rest in peace with no more cancer to ravage her body. And for her to be one of the children surrounding Jesus. Love Chuck & Sue

  • Sending our sympathy and love to all. We are praying for comfort and peace for you as you deal with this extremely difficult loss of beautiful Clara. While we didn’t get the opportunity to spend much time with Clara- her personality was big and she was indeed funny. We love you. Lisa, Pete, Ryan and Sydney Hanna

  • How beautiful of an obituary you made. So much joy and happiness was felt in your living detail of Clara in your lives. What a sorrowful blessing of this wonderful child in this world. My prayers to God is to help your family to be strengthened by having Clara in your life. Know that Jesus and His mother Mary are with you in your sorrow now and always. I have always seen such joy and love anytime Willie or Barb talked about their family especially their grandchildren. I love you all and pray for God grace and mercy to be with you all.
    Love, Sharon

  • Clara is finally home. May she rest in peace with all the other angels. My prayers are with all of your family

  • Sending you and your family our deepest condolences. May she rest in eternal peace and watch over your family-

  • I want to give my deepest condolences. Such a beautiful and lovely family.

  • Deepest condolences, Frank and Emily. May God comfort and strengthen your spirits with the knowledge that Clara is in a better place.

  • We miss you terribly. Thank you for being part of our lives, Ava, Patti and Paul Haws. We loved you being with us and spending time with you and Ava.
    Your life here on earth, was cut way too short, but you are back now in your Heavenly Home.
    We know that we’ll see you again someday..
    Love, Paul, Patti and Ava Haws.

  • Carol and Bill Kurtzbein

    Our fondest memories of little Clara was when her, Lilly, and family used to come to our home to visit our two yorkies. And I was able to see her play girls softball, she wa so full of life, a very sweet girl. Carol and I miss her so much. We are so extremely sorry for the loss of this young lady.

  • 😔😢 no words only tears and the fullness of our love

  • I am deeply sorry for the loss of your beautiful angel here on Earth. I imagine her pain free and flying high!! I am praying you find comfort in your beautiful memories with her. I am so sorry for your loss!

  • Sending so many thoughts, prayers and love to your family. I feel blessed to have crossed paths with your beautiful girls over the years.

  • Bob and Paula Berg

    Our deepest condolences during this time of sorrow. When we first met Clara in 29 Palms, you won our hearts and subsequently those you came in contact with! Your fighting spirit and smile through all of your medical issues, was/is an inspiration to those who were blessed to know you. You are loved, you shall always be deeply loved. The memories that we all had the chance to make with you, will be remembered forever! Frank, Emily and Lily Mae, we can’t imagine your pain. You all are in our prayers!

  • Mike & Jennifer Kuhn

    Our heartfelt condolences and sincere prayers for comfort and strength are sent for all of Clara’s family and friends, teachers and care givers. May God carry each of you right now.

  • Dennis and Michelle

    Sending our deepest condolences, Frank and Emily. May she Rest In Peace.

  • My dear, sweet, Kitty Cat Clara. I am fortunate to have been one of your teachers at Neely and that you also taught and inspired me. I still hang on to some of the gifts you gave me; they make me smile and bring me comfort. Now that you are an angel in Heaven, we will look for your “Pennies from Heaven” moments so that we will know you are always here with us just like you said.

    To Clara’s family and friends, my prayer for you is that in time you would find peace and comfort. Your Neely family is always here for you.
    2 Corinthians 1:3-5
    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  • Susie and Bo Roberts

    We mourn the loss of this beautiful, vivacious, courageous, faith-filled, wise beyond her years little girl. She taught us how to live in faith and love and left her message that she will always be with her family. We offer our prayers of faith and hope and the bonds of friendship to the entire Williams family. And now Clara rest in God’s Arms. She is His Angel as she was yours on earth.

  • Juliann Steinbeigle

    Sending loving prayers to you and your family. May the gift of her beautiful smile, laughter and hugs embrace your heart forever. She is watching over you, eating marsmallows and dancing with the angels.

  • We have said so many prayers for sweet Clara and her wonderful family. We will continue to say prayers for you all.
    Maher family xo

  • Barron Family (Jake, Val, Ben & Penny)

    Our hearts go out to the entire Williams Family. Though we never had the honor of meeting sweet Clara, we heard all about her through cousin Leo, Uncle Rocco and Aunt Natalie. May she rest in peace.

  • My heartfelt condolences to your family. It sounds like she’s left an incredible legacy.

  • Raffanti Family

    We are so very sorry for your loss. We pray that you feel the presence and prayers of Clara as God holds you all together in his eternal and infinite arms.


    Rick and I had the pleasure of meeting the Frank, Emily, Clara and Lilly and a family gathering. Than a dinner at our house. Such a sweet family. The girls impressed us with their caring for one another, sweet dispositions. True treasures.
    A Limb has Fallen From The Family Tree.
    I keep hearing a voice that says “Grieve not for me. Remember the best times, the laughter, the song, the good life I lived while I was. Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you. Keep smiling, and surely the sun will shine through. My mind is at ease, my soul at rest. Remember all, how I truly was blessed. Continue tradition, no matter how small. Go on with your life,don’t worry about falls.i miss you all dearly, so keep your chin up. Until the day comes we are together again.

    Hope this encourages someone. Praying for the family.

  • No one has ever told me about an earthly angel
    until now. Grandma Barb has given us aqua swim buddies little snippets now and then of little brave Claras life. Mostly all positive of her attitude challenges and medical fight with this awful disease. How Clara loved school, friends, roller blading, and life in general. I think more than most actually. Through her stories of Clara I learned that god had a plan. We all need to do better. One word : love

  • In the year I worked back at East Valley I got so excited when I would see Clara’s name, knowing that that little ray of sunshine would be brightening our day! I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend her services, but please know what I am with you in spirit and that I love Clara. Sending my thoughts and love to you all, and missing your sweet, funny girl!

  • Williams family, You are all in my prayers. Clara was such a sweet young lady and I feel blessed to have gotten to know and care for her at our East Valley clinic. I enjoyed her conversations and her love for her animals. The love that she had for all of you was so evident, as was your love for her. Her memory will live in your lives and all of the people who were blessed to know her. With love, Nurse Jody Moses

  • Little Clara-Bear has always held a special place in my heart as I had the joy and pleasure of caring for her in the NICU. My thoughts and prayers go out during this difficult time. Rest in peace sweet girl.

  • Nina, Joyce and Brian Martin

    Although we never had the privilege of meeting little Clara, we know through Grandpa Willie what an exceptional child she was. She was so loving, faith-filled and courageous through such a terrible years long battle with cancer. We are so grateful she can finally rest in peace-leaving all who knew and loved her the comfort of knowing her struggle is over.

  • Traci and Ray Stevens

    Frank, we’ve been holding you all in our hearts and prayers for so long, hoping for the miracle that didn’t come. The light that Clara brought to us, especially the last time we visited and she ran to the car for ‘one more goodbye’ will forever remain a treasured memory. We now pray for peace and comfort for your souls as you learn a new normal in keeping Clara’s memory and with you. Hugs, dear cousin! We love you 🙏🏻❤️

  • Scott and Shelia Chaney Virden

    Emily and family, we are so very sorry for your loss. Prayers for peace and comfort that only our Lord can give. Our hearts are broken for you. Love you

  • Tina & Greg Pringle

    We are so sorry for your loss. Sending prayers for your family

  • Frank,
    I am so sorry for you and your wife’s loss. I can only imagine how difficult it is to go through at this time. I hope for the best for you and your wife at this time.

  • Stacey Guardado

    My Sweet Clara…You were one in a million. Being able to spend time with you at your home teaching you all the 2nd grade curriculum has been and will remain my most favorite teaching memory in my career. Because not only did we do school things, but we did life things. Girl, you were a beckon of strength that I needed at the end of a long day of teaching. When I came to meet you, you were so positive and so willing to keep learning in the midst of your struggle. Through this, you taught me a life lesson…that through all things hard, keep going with a positive attitude , music (I remember pulling up songs on my phone we would sing to), and laughter. Your giggle is still my favorite sound. A favorite memory I have that I will always cherish is when we were about embark on the CHAMPS walk/run this past September and I asked you “How are you going to run in those cowboy boots?” and you replied, with your amazing humor, “I’m not running.”
    My Sweet Clara, I will miss you everyday of my life. I know you are free of your pain you endured while on this earth. I know you are dancing with those boots in heaven. Until I see you again, sweet girl, know that you made a huge impact on this world.

  • Danielle Jurgens

    I can’t imagine what you are going through Emily. Just know I would hug you tight. I never got to meet her but I’m sure you are the best Mom in the world. Love you!

  • The Bennett Family

    We have walked with your family from a distance with ongoing prayer. We now grieve with you. Clara inspired us and so many others. We’re grateful for the light she brought to the world through her optimism and faith. And, no doubt, heaven is even brighter and more joyous with her presence.
    Brad, Laura, Katy (Justin), Jack (Jessie), and Luke (Abbi) Bennett – friends from Wheaton

  • The prettiest young lady, older than her years teaching all of us along the way to just live life ❤️ she touched so many, my daughter and I share your incredible loss and we just loved her. She has her wings now, the most precious Angel🙏 our thoughts and prayers to her endearing family.
    Karen Uboldi

  • Dearest Clara,
    Although I have never met you, you have left your handprint on my heart. Your infectious smile, twinkling eyes, and unrelenting positive spirit have been an inspiration to all of us who followed your courageous journey to Heaven. I have no doubt that you were welcomed into Heaven with much celebration and the ringing of hundreds of bells. Little Angel Warrior, you earned those wings.
    Prayers and loving thoughts to your loving family. I know you will be sending them loving messages from Heaven.

  • Mary Jo (Jodie) Waller

    Dearest Clara,
    Although I never met you, you have left a handprint on my heart. Your infectious smile, twinkling eyes, and unrelenting positive spirit have been an inspiration to all who followed your courageous journey. I have no doubt that you were welcomed into Heaven with much celebration and the ringing of hundreds of bells. Little Angel Warrior, you earned those wings. My thoughts and prayers go out to your loving family and many friends who miss you but take comfort in knowing you are in God’s presence. And I am convinced that you will be whispering loving words of encouragement from Heaven.

  • Sheila and Tim Bowers

    We are so sorry for the loss of precious Clara. Knowing cancer personally, I have so much respect for Clara in handling the disease as a warrior with grace and dignity. May God and happy memories carry you through this difficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love Aunt Sheila and Uncle Tim

  • I was able to meet Clara in elementary school and am so glad that I did! She had an amazing and fun personality and was always ready to make someone feel better and help anyone. I know we will eventually be able to meet Clara again in heaven, and she will be dearly missed on Earth. I loved her so much and will miss her so much! Thank you Virdin-Williams family for having an amazing daughter and never giving up on her. We love you, Clara, and all your friends and family!
    – Elle White

  • Pat and Sandy Johnston

    We were blessed to be part of precious Clara’s life. We loved her and will miss her forever.
    Love, Uncle Pat and Aunt Sandy

  • Scottie and Doris Virden

    We will be praying for all of you today. Sending Blessings to all of you for this year ahead

  • Katherine Barnett and family

    We will always remember Clara with a bright smile and playful attitude. Our prayers are with you. In her honor we will keep many sweet memories of the good times at Nelly! May God give you strength and comfort in this time.

  • Heaven gained an angel and what a precious one she is. Clara was such a sweet and kind soul. May she rest in peace in her heavenly home. We are sorry for the loss of such a beautiful girl.

    -The Chavarria Family

  • Susan Gooch and Family

    We are sending our deepest condolences to your entire family! I know little Clara is looking down and knows how much we all loved her! What a beautiful day to share our love with her! Love, from our family to yours.XO

  • We first met Clara when Ava came to Neely in kindergarten. Mrs. Webster assigned Clara as Ava’s special friend because she was such a sweet girl. A special friendship was born that day.
    Another memory is when we randomly decided to go the Southeast Library one summer day and Clara was there with no hair because while we had been spending our summer in Utah, she had been having treatments. While the girls (Clara, Ava and Lily Mae) ran around the children’s section playing like nothing was different, Emily and I sat in the corner crying. Remember Zoom classes in 5th grade when Clara was home and connected through her iPad. Or when Ava could go over one on one to play because Clara’s numbers were up. And the laughter and silliness of sweet Clara! Yes and being funny!!
    When we went to the Mall one time and rode those mechanical animals around the mall. Of course, Clara’s was a cat!
    I always say that Clara was yong to Ava’s yang. We will miss Clara!
    I asked Ava what was one of her favorite memories of Clara was and she said all of them.
    BFF takes on new meaning with Clara gone. I know Clara is up in heaven and looking down on us and wanting us to remember her and be happy. She is going to be that angel on your shoulder saying you can do it! You got this!
    We are so grateful to have Clara in our lives even for a short time it was.
    We love the Virden Williams family and express our express our love to Frank, Emily and Lily Mae. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Sending our condolences and prayers to your entire family. Love from. Our family to Yours!

  • Michael Elliott, Jr.

    My name is Michael Elliott, Jr. and I have been a student at Neely since 2nd grade. Clara was a friend to me in my early grades. She was in all my classes. During 5th and 6th grades, I was worried because she would be gone for long times. When we went to Skateland in 5th grade, she surprised everyone and that was one of my favorite moments with her. I hope that you and your family will get through this.

  • Words fall short in expressing the sorrow I feel for your loss. May your love and memories shared bring some comfort during this painful time. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Monica Lamparter

    My sweet sweet friend who loved on me and Winnie when we would walk around the block. I cherished your hugs and love everyday when you and lily May and Lily were outside swinging. You will always be with me. Forever and ever, fly high, visit often and will keep you in my heart forever and ever. Godspeed

  • To the sweetest girl, with the best sense of humor and the warmest hugs I’ve ever known, you will forever be missed! I will never run the frog game again without thinking of you and Lily and Lily Mae running around and cheering for the kids as they played. You always brought so much sunshine into all of our lives with your big smile and crazy, quick wit. My heart is broken because I know I will not get to hear you call me Auntie Dawn as you launch yourself into my arms and I’m devastated by the unfairness of it all. But I am so glad you are no longer in pain and that your family will have the most devoted angel watching over them. Visit often and send your family lots of signs that you are always with them. Love you always and forever.

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