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Doris Schnebly Clymer, 99, of Issaquah, Washington, died Sunday May 18, 2008 after a short illness. She was born April 3, 1909, in Ellensburg, Washington to Joseph Jay and Elizabeth Barnhart Schnebly. Her early years were spent on the family ranch which was located in the Fairview District, where she attended a one-room schoolhouse.
After graduating from Ellensburg High School, Doris went on to study History and English at Washington State College (now WSU), where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1931. In 1932, Doris married high school sweetheart and artist John Ford Clymer. Over the 58 years of their marriage, Doris and John lived in Wilmington, Delaware; Toronto, Canada; Westport, Connecticut; Bridgewater, Connecticut; Teton Village, Wyoming; and Issaquah, Washington. They traveled extensively around the United States and Canada while Doris helped John research his Saturday Evening Post covers, illustrations, and Fine Art paintings.
It was Doris’ love of Western American history that led to John’s illustrated interpretations of historic events in the American West that comprised his later career. Doris was a thorough and dogged historical researcher, and it was her untiring investigations that led the couple to the precise locations where events occurred. This enabled John Clymer to be known as the artist whose works could be studied for their historical accuracy.
The Clymer’s favorite areas of study included the Oregon Trail (Doris had five great-great grandparents who traveled to the Ellensburg area via the trail), the Nez Perce Trail and Chief Joseph, the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Doris won an award for her research from the Lewis and Clark Society), the Astorians, the Fur Trade, Narcissa Whitman, and events along the Missouri River. These scenes were brought to life by John’s imagination and talent with Doris as his muse.
Doris is survived by a son, David J. Clymer of Sammamish, Washington, a daughter, Jo Lorraine Tatum of Mount Dora, Florida, five grandchildren an two great grandchildren.
Services will be held at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Ellensburg at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 22, followed by a reception. Burial will be at the IOOF Cemetery at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Clymer Museum, 416 North Pear Street, Ellensburg, WA 98926.
Daily Record, May 20, 2008
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman