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LOREN EDWARD CLAUNCH ~ Class of 1955
June 15, 1937 - February 16, 2008
Loren Claunch was born June 15, 1937 in Pittsburg, KS, the only child of Ralph and Mabel Claunch. His family moved a few times during his youth, but he called Richland his childhood home.
He graduated from Richland High School in 1955. He pursued his higher education at Columbia Basin College, then transferred to Central Washington College of Education (Central Washington University) and completed two bachelor's degrees in mathematics and education in 1960. He earned a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Oregon in 1965.
Loren moved to Longview in 1960 and immediately began his teaching career as a mathematics instructor, continuing to teach in the community through 2008. He taught at Mark Morris High School from 1960 through 1995. He began teaching at Lower Columbia College in the mid-1980s and was still working the week he died.
He had several lifelong interests: teaching, music, gardening and spending time with family.
Loren was an avid gardener, but had a particular love of rhododendrons which he loved to share. It was not unusual for family and friends to come home to a potted "rhodie" sitting on their front porch, or newly planted in their front yard. He also donated and planted many rhododendrons throughout the community. He also created his own barrel and trellis system to grow abundant tomato plants. The bounty from his harvest was shared with many families.
Loren's love of music began in high school when he played the saxophone and clarinet. He began playing in dance bands during college, and he continued this part-time career after he graduated. He joined a band, "The Sounds of Everything", after he moved to Longview and played at local clubs for many years. He shared his love of music with his students and started the pep band at Mark Morris High School.
Loren married the love of his life, JoAnne, in 1960, and they had two children, Lane and Lorijo. Loren and JoAnne were married for 47 years, and he couldn't imagine a life without her. JoAnne passed away February 1, 2008, and 15 days later Loren followed her, dying February 16, 2008. While the doctors couldn't specify any one reason for his death, the family knows he died of a broken heart.
Loren is survived by his son, Lane Claunch and his wife, DeAnna, and their three children, Emily, Lauren, and Anna, of Longview; and his daughter, Lorijo Claunch Jones and her husband Robert Jones, of Renton.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Northlake Baptist Church in Longview. All those who knew Loren are welcome to come and help celebrate his life and share stories. A viewing will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Steele Chapel at Longview Memorial Park.
Memorial donations may be made to the CWU Foundation - Claunch Memorial, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7505.
Please sign the guest book at www.tdn.com/obits.
Published in The Daily News on 2/20/2008.