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DAVID KIRTELY CLEM ~ Class of 1958
January 8, 1940 - May 14, 2004
David Kirtley Clem, 64, died of mesothelioma, cancer caused by asbestos, at home May 14, 2004.
His family was by his side.
Dave began his life January 8, 1940, in Melbourne, Arkansas, as the second child of Thelma and
Nix Clem. He married his special, lifetime love Judy Williams ('61) on August 10, 1962.
Together, they raised three sons Kirtley Scot, Eric Nathan, and Aaron David in Richland, WA.
Dave came to Richland with his parents and older brother in 1944. They moved into a newly
completed "B" house where he lived until he married.
He had a natural gift and love for mechanical things of all kinds. This gift was used to
design and fabricate tools, machinery, and equipment throughout his life. In his late teens,
he designed and built his popular "Clem Shift," an in-line stick shift, and his hydraulic
car hood louvering machine. Dave helped pay for his college by installing these on cars
throughout the Northwest, in addition to general car maintenance and welding. He was the
consummate craftsman, working with a variety of mediums from wood to metal.
Dave graduated from Washington State University in 1964 with a Bachelor's degree in mechanical
engineering. As a senior, he was invited to become a member of Tau Beta Pi, an honorary
engineering society recognizing top scholars in the field. He began working for General
Electric immediately after graduation until retirement in 1996.
Time with his family was his greatest pleasure. He treasured summer vacations on the
Washington coast, working with his children, and experiencing the joys of life with his
grandchildren. His highest priority was ensuring his family was safe and well taken care of:
teaching, coaching, counseling, fixing and building anything we needed or wanted. He loved us
beyond measure, as we did him.
Survivors include his wife Judy of Richland; sons Kirtley Scot of Richland, Eric Nathan and
Aaron David and wife Christine of Kennewick; grandsons Christopher Tyler and Easton Ray of
Kennewick; brother Robert Gail of Albuquerque, NM; sister Suzy Ellen of Yakima; cousin Glen
Rose and wife Carol of West Richland; numerous extended family; and special pets Jessie,
Missy, Shawnie, and B.P. (Bird Person). He was preceded in death by his mother and father
Thelma and Nix Clem.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, May 20, 2004, at 3 p.m. at The Cathedral of Joy,
1153 Gage Boulevard, in Richland. Personal memories may be shared with the family at
Tax-exempt donations may be made in David's name to The Mesothelioma Applied Research
Foundation, 1609 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (www.marf.org). MARF's tax ID and
Employer Identification Number is 75-2816066