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Wilmer Leland Clements

Wilmer Leland Clements was born to Helen (White) and Gail Clements on September 25th, 1927, in Howell Michigan, on a dairy and produce farm. Known as Wil, he was the middle child of 5, namely Ruth, Robert, Wilmer, Charles and Barbara.  He died at the age of 89 years on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at the Heart of America Care Center in Rugby, North Dakota.

Wil’s childhood education took place in a one room country schoolhouse located about 3 miles from the farmhouse, which he would walk to and from during the school year. He earned awards for never missing school, even while working on the family farm. Wil performed many farming tasks, including milking cows, mending fences, putting up hay, cutting firewood to heat the house, planting and weeding gardens and crop fields. He had a talent and passion for hunting and fishing, especially pheasant hunting and lake fishing. Wil learned on his own to play the guitar and piano, which he later enjoyed performing at social events.

In 1945, and at the age of 18, Wil joined the Army and was a top marksman and showed aptitude in medical sciences, so he was assigned to the Army medical core at Fitzsimmons hospital in Denver, Colorado, until he was honorably discharged in 1947. After his stent in the Army, Wil traveled the country “by thumb” for several months before returning home. Taking advantage of the GI bill, Wil received a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University in Forestry. Wil later earned a certification to teach from the State of Michigan educational department.  In 1953, while helping a neighbor girl free her tractor from the swamp, he fell in love with that girl who would later become his wife. Wil and Eunice (Dutkiewicz) married June 30, 1956 in St. Joseph Catholic Church in Howell, Michigan with a reception in the Dutkiewicz family hay barn to complete the celebration. They would later move to his childhood farm to raise their 7 children. Wil had a love for gardening. The family used the farm land for hay as well as a large family garden that they would all work together. Their lives were filled with love, laughter and travel. His teaching career lasted 34 years, he enjoyed teaching Biology, Botany, and Zoology in Hartland High School District for 28 years. Wil touched the lives of his many students and some kept in communication with him throughout the years. Wil’s teaching career would allow his family to vacation each summer in Colorado while he worked as a ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO for several years. As a field foreman, his crew helped build several trails including Trail Ridge and Bear Lake trails, which are still being used today. Florida was another favorite family vacation destination, where they visited Wil’s brother Charles and his family. After raising their 7 children, in 1987 Wil retired so he and Eunice could move to Bozeman, Montana where they built their dream log home. They created beautiful gardens and entertained their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Fishing, traveling, and rafting were plentiful in Montana for family gatherings. In addition, their travels took them to visit family in several different states. Again, they spent several summers in Florida vacationing or taking breaks from the cold winters. Eventually they needed to downsize and bought their home in Rugby, ND in 2014, where he resided until his death. He enjoyed the people, slow pace, and the open land as well as being in close proximity to his youngest son and their family.

Will, dad, will always be cherished in memory for his vibrant smile and incredible sense of humor. He will be missed by everyone. We love you, you will be deeply missed until we meet again.

Wil is survived by his loving wife, Eunice Clara Clements of 60 years, siblings Charles Clements, Robert Clements, his children Denise (Chuck) Payment, Michele Clements, Cynthia (Joe) Saylor, Patrick (Tammy) Clements, Timothy (Kelly Dawes) Clements, Jennifer (Scott) Kohles and Tom (Kelly) Clements, 19 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren. Will is preceded in death by his sister Ruth Moore of Howell, MI and Barbara Needham of South Bend, ID.

A memorial service and burial will be held at a later date in Howell, Michigan.

Posted Condolences:

Mr. Clements was the best science teacher ever!  I am a teacher today because he encouraged me to do what I loved; despite the fact that there were no jobs available in the field in the early 1980s.  I cherish all the time and energy he put into making my high school education the highest quality learning experience possible, even in a small town like Hartland.  Rest in Peace Mr. Clements!
Michele Dale Cannaert


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