WINSIDE — Claire Earl Stoakes, 101, Winside, died Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, at Countryview Care Center in Wayne. There will be no funeral service at this time. A joint memorial service will be at a later when it can be combined with his spouse, Lura.
Brockhaus-Howser-Funeral Home in Norfolk is in charge of arrangements.
Clair Earl Stoakes was born on May 15, 1920, at Tama County, Iowa, on a farm between the towns of Traer and Dysart. Clair was the oldest son of LeRoy “Earl” Stoakes and Daisy (Carter) Stoakes. Through his younger years, he attended schools in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and California, where he graduated in 1938.
Clair married the love of his life, Lura B. Mote, on Aug. 23, 1941, at Lura’s parents’ home in El Cajon, Calif. They lived in El Cajon in a house designed and built by Clair. He worked in construction there until the outbreak of World War II, at which time he joined the service.
Clair served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theatre. He was the gun commander of a 90 mm artillery gun. He fought in the battle of Lingayen Gulf, where he was injured during a strafing incident and the monthlong Battle of Manilla in the Philippines.
After the war, Clair and Lura lived in the rapidly growing city of El Cajon for five more years before deciding to move to Nebraska, where he farmed north of Wayne for about eight years. Later, Clair worked for the City of Wayne Power Plant, starting as a diesel operator and retiring as chief engineer 21 years later.
Clair retired in 1984 at which time he and Lura moved to Winside and lived there for 35 years. In 2019, Clair broke his hip and they moved to Countryview Care Center in Wayne.
On Aug. 23, 2021, Countryview helped Clair and Lura celebrate their 80th anniversary with a ride down main street in a 1925 Model T convertible sedan. They said it was the best anniversary ever.
Throughout his life, Clair enjoyed hunting, fishing and family get togethers. He enjoyed and took great pride in keeping up the yards and houses he and Lura lived in and the cars they drove. He was happiest in his shop making things for his family.
Clair’s life was anything but easy. He miraculously survived a burst appendix in 1932. A couple of years later he, his brother, and his sister were in caught in the deadly Black Blizzard of 1934 as they were trying to walk home from school. In 1935, Clair and his family survived and outbreak of diphtheria, but Clair became temporarily blind.
Survivors include his spouse, Lura; daughters Susan Hajek of Silver Creek and Marilyn (Perry) Neill of Gibbon; granddaughters Sandi Hajek Elrod of Dallas, Texas, and Shelly Hajek of Chetumal, Mexico; great-grandchildren Jesse Michael (Lindsey) Hajek of Clarkson and Kristin (Graham) Quinn of Huston, Texas; great-great-grandchildren Daniel Hajek, Ally Hajek, Ember and Evan Hajek; and nieces and nephews.
Clair was preceded in death by many beloved family members, including his parents and stepmother, Opal (Muhm) Stoakes; brother Howard (Mary) Stoakes; sister Marion (Julius) Stoakes Baier and their spouses; son-in-law Ron Hajek; brothers-in-law Hugh (Dora) Mote, Dan (Bea) Mote, Harry (Marjie) Mote and the Rev. Jim (Dorothy) Mote; and sister-in-law Rosella (Walter) Robertson.