Willeyne McCune Clemens, 92, passed into eternity on May 1, 2013 after a brief illness. A daughter of Norman and Ruth
McCune, she was born on June 4, 1920 near Bowling Green,
an area which her family homesteaded several generations ago, and she lived there much of her life. An
alumna of Christian College in Columbia, she was married
to the late Jack Patterson Sr. They had a son, Jack Patterson Jr. who preceded her in death, and a daughter, Roanoke educator
and children’s author, Nancy Ruth Patterson.
Mrs. Clemens, a former elementary school teacher known for
her graciousness, warmth, and sweet smile, had been a church and community volunteer all her life. She was an active
member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, a member of The
Daughters of the American Revolution for more than fifty years a docent for the Art Museum of Western Virginia, and a member of the Chestnut Hills Club.
The widow of The Honorable James Clemens, a Senior Judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, she moved in 1990 from
Missouri to Roanoke, where she had lived prior to her marriage
to Judge Clemens, to be near her daughter. Mill Mountain Theatre’s productions of The Christmas Cup, a book written by her daughter and based on McCune family traditions, was dedicated to Mrs. Clemens, “whose children both knew that she loved them each best.” In a 1999 article for The Roanoke Times
Nancy Ruth Patterson cited her mother’s influence on her life and writing, calling her “the best cheerleader a child could ever have.”
Mrs. Clemens has a brother-in-law, Dr. Richard King, and a sister-in-law, Peggy Delozier, both of Clinton. Her sister
Mary Lou King and her brother, Tom McCune, are deceased. She also has four nieces, Dixie Wolf and Carol Tsevis of Kansas
City, Barbara Slade of Austin, Texas, and Kathy Miller of Overland Park, Kan., and two nephews, Mike and Jeff McCune
of the St. Petersburg, Fla. area. She felt especially grateful for
her 92-year friendship with Dorothy Hannaford of Sarasota, Fla. whom she considered a sister. She also considered Alison ancdBrowning Hemric, of Asheville, N.C. and Addison Hemric, of Charlotte, N.C. to be family. She cherished the memories of Pooh and Macon, two beloved poodles she shared with her daughter, and she leaves behind her constant companion, her
At noon on Monday, May 6, 2013, a family friend, The
Reverend Dr. Carol McCall Richardson, officiated at a
graveside service for Mrs. Clemens at St. John’s Episcopal
Church Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn. At a later date, a celebration in gratitude for a well-lived and well-loved life will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Roanoke, Va. Oakey’s
Downtown Chapel is handling arrangements. There will be no visitation.
Memorial contributions may be sent to St. John’s Episcopal
Church Choir in Roanoke, or to Mill Mountain Theatre, where Mrs. Clemens garnered many of her most joyous memories
during five productions based on her daughter’s books. Those plays included A Simple Gift, which featured her beloved poodle Newby.
“Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows…but only one mother in the whole world.”
-Kate Douglas Wiggin