Clara Lee Bawden


Clara Lee Billingsley Killian Bawden, our precious wife, mother, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother left this earthly existence on July 31, 2020, in Mesa, Arizona, surrounded by her loving family. Born November 6, 1930 and reared in Orangeville, Utah by her mother, Thora Seely Killian, and her stepfather, Franklin Lloyd Killian, she grew up in a humble, faith-filled home. She was caring, loving, simple and forthright. Her concern and charity for others governed her nature and she truly “mourned with those that mourned.” Her greatest ministry of love and comfort began on July 21, 1948, when she married Leon Bawden in the Manti Temple. Their devoted marriage of 72 years brought the blessings of five children, 35 grandchildren and 96 great grandchildren. Though meek and uncomplicated she had a strong sense of her identity, loved challenging herself with new accomplishments, was an avid reader and enjoyed learning about new topics. True to her love of learning, after having her children, she decided to attend college and graduated from San Francisco State. For 17 years she was a beloved elementary school educator and was recognized for her ability to teach and love those students who struggled in various ways. Her sensitive heart made her a champion of anyone in need of service or love. She had a quick wit and dry sense of humor that was sharpened by the many children in her life, especially her own.

Clara Lee was a consummate homemaker and hostess. Scores of people have been fed at her famous family dinners and will never forget her fresh baked bread and famous rolls. She unselfishly opened her home to family and friends alike for meals or for an extended place to call home. Truly her door was always open, just like her beautiful heart as countless, grateful grandchildren and friends in need were welcomed to live with her on their journey to adulthood. She was a true disciple of Christ whose life reflected Him and what he taught. Clara Lee was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and taught her children by precept and example throughout her life. Together, she and Leon served two missions, first in the Tampa, Florida Family History Center and second in the Mesa, Arizona Family History Center. They also worked for many decades as Temple workers. Her ministry included many leadership callings and supporting her husband in his many callings. Never one to seek the spotlight, Clara Lee truly embodied the meek follower of Christ. Thousands who have been blessed by her love and service will miss the comfort Clara Lee Bawden shared with them each day of her life. We love you Grandma and will miss you until we are united again.

Clara Lee is survived by her husband, Leon Bawden; children: Brent Leon (Julianne Green), Reece A. (Jennifer Watts), Clyde Lee (Jayme Robinson), Pamela (Dan Piacitelli), and Kenneth (Lisa Larson); brothers: Clark J (Mary Jean) Killian and Wayne Seely (Judy) Killian. Preceded in death by parents Alma Owen Billingsley, Thora Seeley, Franklin Lloyd Killian, sister Beth Stilson, brother Jack Lloyd Killian, daughter-in-law Ginny Neeley Bawden, grandsons Erickson Bawden and Dustin Bawden and granddaughter Kendra Bawden.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the funeral service will be for immediate family only and held Saturday, August 8th at 10am at the Citrus Heights Stake Center (2549 North 32nd Street, Mesa, Arizona 85213). The family requests that all in attendance wear a mask and social distance. The funeral service will be streamed live on Zoom.
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The family wishes to express appreciation to the staff of the Emerald Groves Assisted Living Center and Aegis Hospice for their love and care of Clara Lee.

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