It is with great sadness that we share the passing of guest, Clarke Shaw, who traveled over the rainbow bridge on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2023, at the age of 74. My name is Fred Skeen and as Clarke’s RN case manager at Hospitality House, I can’t thank the community enough for all their love and support of Clarke. It meant a lot to Clarke, especially in his final days.

For those unaware, Clarke was a local boy, raised in Nevada County from his teenage years onward, who always lived and worked close to home. He loved the Yuba River and was a North San Juan kind of guy. He frequented the river and loved the outdoors. He was never married, nor did he have any children. As a young adult, he served in the Army Reserves during the Vietnam Era. As an older adult, Clarke stayed local and worked around North San Juan until he fell on hard times.

After losing his housing, Clarke came to us for help. While in our care, we learned Clarke had cancer. When community members learned of this, they graciously dropped off smoothies and shakes for Clarke at the shelter, which were the only agreeable foods for him as he went through radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, after a small window in which we thought the cancer was finally gone, it recurred and spread to his lungs and abdomen. A recent biopsy confirmed it had masticated everywhere.

In recent weeks, Clarke began to go downhill, and we transferred him to a skilled nursing center in Auburn where American River Hospice assisted him in his final days. I visited him regularly with my therapy-in-training dog, Daphne. Daphne could sense the time was near and stayed by Clarke’s side during each visit.

Clarke was never a big fan of storm clouds and rainy days, so it feels fitting that in the middle of all our recent storms, that on a bright, sunny afternoon on New Year’s Day, he left us peacefully under the sun’s warmth.

Clarke was always one of my favorite characters at the shelter. He will be greatly missed. I thank every individual and business who has come forward at some point to help Clarke. Please know how much he appreciated everything.

For those interested, our team shared a little of Clarke’s story back in 2021, that was featured in The Union, available here: https://www.theunion.com/news/a-new-feeling-and-joyfulness-man-with-cancer-and-no-home-continues-to-carry-hope/

Right now, I’d like to thank our volunteers who help us throughout the year and thank Marna Duncan and Hilary Dark for their weekly grocery shopping support. We’d also like to welcome our brand new volunteer cook in the kitchen, Bob Noorman, who was a big help yesterday.  If you have an interest in volunteering, please call us at 530-615-0852 or email info@hhshelter.org. A special thanks also to our partners for providing ongoing food and/or financial support: SPD Markets, BriarPatch Food Co-op, Telestream, Interfaith Food Ministry, the Bishop Store (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nevada City) and Food Bank of Nevada County. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!

Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the week:

  • Twin-size blankets – URGENT NEED
  • New pillows (we are unable to accept used)
  • Men’s winter coats, jackets and hoodies (all – sizes; no women’s attire at this time)
  • Granola bars

DONATION HOURS: To streamline our donation process, donations are no longer being accepted at our shelter (unless it’s food). Please drop off items from our needs list on Tuesday or Thursday, 830am – 5pm at our admin office, located at 488 Crown Point Circle, Suite 100, Grass Valley, Ca 95945 (admin is closed weekends and all major holidays). We greatly appreciate the community’s help at such times of uncertainty. In the words of Utah Phillips, “If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need.” Thank you!

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