Cow Creek tribal elder Clementine Jennie (Young) Rice, died June 15, 2019, in Roseburg, Oregon. She was 90 years old.
The daughter of Ralph and Emaline (Lerwill) Young, Clem was born Oct. 16, 1928 in the family home in Tiller. She was delivered by her great-grandmother and namesake, Clementine Petit Rondeau. The family lived in the Tiller and Myrtle Creek areas. Clem attended Cedar Grove School on North Myrtle Road, graduating from eighth grade in 1942, and Myrtle Creek High School (currently Myrtle Creek Elementary), where she graduated in 1946 with her future husband, William L. Rice.
After high school, Clem worked in the pencil factory in Myrtle Creek before moving to Portland, where she graduated from Binky Walker Business School. After returning to Myrtle Creek, she worked as a bookkeeper for Rudders Garage and then ran the office for Ken Winston Real Estate, where she earned her real estate license.
On Nov. 11, 1953, she married William Rice at the family home in Myrtle Creek. They moved to Corvallis, where Bill attended Oregon State University and Clem worked as the personal assistant to Ed Albertson, owner of Albertson Lumber Co. in Philomath. Their oldest two children, Susan and William (Doug), were born in Corvallis. Their daughter Signe was born in Bellevue after Bill graduated. The family then lived in Spokane for about 25 years except for a brief stint in Denver. Clem and her husband retired and moved home to Myrtle Creek in 1989.
Clem was active in tribal affairs throughout her entire life. She helped plan the yearly Cow Creek powwow at South Umpqua Falls beginning in the 1970s, and was the main organizer for more than 15 years. Clem was dedicated to Cow Creek cultural activities, and was known as an accomplished bead artist, basket weaver and traditional drummer. She was an enthusiastic participant in elder activities sponsored by the Cow Creek tribe. For the last several years, she attended classes with her brother and sister to learn the native Takelma language.
Clem was a volunteer for a number of organizations during her lifetime, and was a member of the Douglas County Historical Society, Friends of the Myrtle Creek Library and the Douglas Small Woodlands Association. She loved to go camping, huckleberry picking and exploring in the traditional tribal grounds near Tiller.
She is preceded in death by her son, William D. Rice, brother John Young and sister Rose Deardorff. She is survived by her husband, William L. Rice of Myrtle Creek; her daughters, Susan Rice (Rocky Corliss) and Signe Newman, both of Bellingham, Washington; daughter-in-law Megan Monson of Myrtle Creek; and her grandchildren, Cassidy Rice of Portland and Riley Rice of Lander, Wyoming. She is also survived by siblings Clara Keller and Ralph Young, both of Myrtle Creek, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Clems life will be held later this summer at the family cemetery in Tiller.