Sharon Lee (Basey) Clements was born in the Yakima Valley in Toppenish, Washington on the 25th day of August 1940. Her parents, Wilbur and Mary Basey, were sugar beet farmers and lifelong residents of the Valley. Their extended family included a large number of Aunts and Uncles providing Sharon with many family dinners and a wonderful childhood atmosphere to be raised in. Sharon was an only child, but was raised with her uncle Guy, who was 5 years older. Uncle Guy often referred to Sharon as his “best and worst birthday present ever”, as they shared a birthday.
Sharon went to school in Toppenish all 12 years, graduating with honors in 1958. In first grade she met and became lifelong friends with three other girls, Carol Lee Bissel of Yakima, Rosalie Heit of Buena, and Judy Markham of Toppenish. They kept in close contact throughout the years, and they got together to share laughs whenever they could. During her school years in Toppenish, Sharon was very active, serving as class treasurer (11), secretary (12), yearbook publishing (12), pep club, drill team, Girls Athletics President (12), and Class Board of Control. Sharon would later apply all of the skills she showed so early to her own business. After graduation, Sharon attended WSU in Pullman for one year and received an associate degree in Broadcasting.
It was during her Christmas break from college in 1958 that Sharon met Larry at her parents’ farm. Larry was duck hunting with Sharon’s cousin, Dick Berry, Larry’s friend and schoolmate from Wapato. When they met, it was love at first sight and they started dating. Unfortunately, Larry was inducted into the US Army on the 5th of January and their relationship was interrupted until the 25th of November 1961, when they were married just prior to Larry’s discharge from the Military.
Sharon and Larry started their married life in the Yakima Valley, but the agriculture-based employment was very “seasonal”, and they decided to move to the Seattle Area in 1963 to find “steady” employment. Larry went to work in construction and Sharon went to work at KIRO. Their first son, Kevin, was born in 1964. They moved to Covington in April of 1966 with their then 2-year-old son, and 55 years later are still at the same location. At that time Sharon quit her job and became a full-time, stay-at-home mother and home maker. Their daughter, Shawn, was born in 1967 and their youngest son, Aaron, was born in 1969. Sharon and Larry welcomed foster-son Matt in January 1977 on Matt’s 13th birthday.
Larry continued working in construction and Sharon continued being a stay-at-home mother, including president of the PTA, Blue bird scout leader, serving on the school advisory board while running an open-door residence for children to assemble, eat and play until 1977. At that time, Larry was a superintendent for Eberharter and Gaunt Construction and was starting the main core Pike Place Market rehabilitation project, a project with over 100 direct employees, as well as 100 sub-contractor employees. Larry was sinking from the massive amount of paperwork on such a massive project and Sharon came to work as the field office manager to save her husband, which she did very efficiently. Each day Sharon was amazing; her schedule included getting the children up and off to school every morning, coming to work for 6 hours, and going home to meet the kids from school; a schedule she maintained until the youngest graduated from high school in 1987. Sharon and Larry worked together on the Market Project for two years until its completion in 1978, and during that time they became a team and decided that they wanted to continue their professional partnership. However, projects requiring a field office manager, at Eberharter and Gaunt, were few and far between, so Larry quit his job, and Sharon and Larry formed Clements and Juarez Construction, with Richard Juarez, a classmate of Larry’s. Their business was targeted at commercial construction and The Boeing Company was one of their major customers. After Richard retired in 1994 Sharon became CEO of Clements General Construction and Larry became President.
In 1995, Sharon and Larry, along with a group of residents and local businesspeople, got together to discuss a plan to get a charter for the unincorporated city of Covington, because of the rapid, unorganized growth that was occurring. Sharon served on the planning committee, the business development committee, and the zoning committee, until the incorporation was completed in August of 1997. She then served as president of the chamber of commerce, and Sharon remained on the Civic Advisory Committee for several years. In 2000 Sharon and Larry were honored as Citizens of the Year by the City of Covington, an honor she earned for both of them. All the while Sharon remained CEO of Clements General and manager of the construction company office operations. In 2003, The Boeing Company graciously nominated Clements General for Small Business Administration contractor of the year. Sharon and Larry attended the event in Washington D.C. and remarkably, Sharon was awarded “Contractor of the Year” of the United States by the SBA. This was a memorable time in their lives that was never forgotten.
Sharon and Larry’s foster-son Matt was married to Chris OBrien in 1982, and they welcomed son Phil in September 1987.
In 1993 Sharon and Larry’s eldest son, Kevin married Kim Tucker and in May of 1997 presented them with their first grandchild, Aidan. Aidan is currently attending college at Western Washington University.
Sharon and Larry’s daughter, Shawn, was married in 1996 to Robert Hall and Ian, their second grandson was born in August 1997, and granddaughter, Kylee, was born in June 2001.
Their youngest son, Aaron, was married in 2016 to Dainia Edwards and their third grandson, Orion, was born in July 2016.
In February 2016 Sharon and Larry welcomed their first great-grandchild, Jonathan (Ian Hall and Madii Schnarr).
Somehow while running a business and supporting her community, Sharon also prioritized time with her growing family and countless friends. She was a great source of joy on camping, fishing, and hunting trips throughout the years. She enjoyed games of all types and graciously hosted many, many birthday, holiday, and “just because” gatherings in her and Larry’s home, as well as their cabin in eastern Washington. She was hard working, creative, and kind, often known to send visitors home not only with good memories, but also with thoughtful gifts or lovely things she had crafted herself. And Sharon always offered a warm smile to accompany a cup of coffee and engaging conversation.
Sharon continued to manage the construction company until Covid-19 struck in March of 2020 and at that time she went “remote” primarily because of underlying COPD health issues and the risk of being exposed to the virus. Unfortunately, her health continued to deteriorate, and she passed away at home, with her family present on the 9th of May 2021.
Sharon is survived by her husband Larry, her children, 4 grandchildren (Aidan, Ian, Kylee, and Orion), one great-grandchild (Jonathan), and countless friends.
Sharon had many roles and titles during her time with us: wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, daughter, friend, CEO, Woman of the Year, ringmaster, and the list goes on. She is missed immensely for each and every one.
A celebration of Sharon’s life will be held in Covington on May 20 from noon to 4:00pm at the Clements family home and graveside services will be held at the Zillah Cemetery on May 21 at noon.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests those who wish to express sympathy consider making a donation to their favorite charity in Sharon Clements name.
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