Clarence Joseph Rollinger, God’s humble servant and loving husband to Janice, died peacefully in his sleep on June 24, 2019, surrounded by his family.
He was 94 years old and the proud father of 11 children, 35 grandchildren, 42 great grandchildren.
He was born March 3, 1925 to Nicholas and Cecilia Rollinger in Sunnyside.
Always a farmer, he initially grew row crops and operated an orchard in partnership with his two brothers Jim and Fred. In 1965 he transitioned to dairy farming. He was born and raised on the same farm just outside Sunnyside where he worked hard to raise his own family.
He witnessed farming progress from horse drawn plows to satellite directed tractors with air-conditioned cabs. The farm has been in the family for 100 years and is now owned and operated by his son and grandsons.
He retired from farming at age 62, but never lost interest and in his later years visited the farms regularly to marvel at the innovations of modern agriculture.
In his early years, he was an adventurous young man who loved cars, flew float planes, skied, and played trombone in a dance band, only to giving it up to support his family. During one such adventure, he drove his 1947 Ford convertible to visit his best friend’s family in Minnesota, and met his future bride, Janice Mae Stamschror. He brought her back to Sunnyside “to keep an eye on her” and in four months they were engaged. They were married at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on May 26, 1951 and together created a lifetime of love, faith and raising their family. In 2016 they celebrated their wedding anniversary by renewing their wedding vows during mass just as they had done 65 years earlier.
Clarence was devoted to his faith and attended daily mass for many years. He was the first child baptized in the newly established St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. He sang in the church choir, served on the parish council, taught catechism, and helped established St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Sunnyside.
He was also involved in the Yakima Valley Dairy Federation and served on the board of the Washington State Dairy Federation. He and his family were honored in 1978 as Yakima Valley Dairy Family of the Year. Clarence was a charter member of the Lower Valley Credit Union.
He also spent many hours supporting and watching his children and grandchildren play sports and engage in their extracurricular activities.
Clarence is survived by his brother Fred Rollinger of Yakima; his children Ann (Dave) Burkett of Selah; Charles (Sharon) Rollinger of Sunnyside; Marian (Keith) Phillips of Prosser; Mike (Susan) Rollinger of Yakima; Kathy (Rick) Sartain of Grandview; Janice (Bruce) Juntunen of Chehalis; Patti (David) Brumbach of Renton, Joe (Lori) Rollinger of Sunnyside; Julie Spini of Sunnyside; Dan (Janet) Rollinger of Boise, and David (Erica) Rollinger of Zillah. His legacy will continue with 77 grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Clarence was preceded in death by his wife Janice who died in 2017, his parents Nick and Cecilia Rollinger, and his brother James Rollinger.
Viewing and visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, July 1, 2019 with the recitation of the Holy Rosary at 6 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside. Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sunnyside. Burial will follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sunnyside or Heartlinks Hospice and Palliative Care.
Those wishing to sign Clarence’s online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com.
Smith Funeral Home in care of arrangements.