South County

A Living Memorial Party in McCloud

It was a perfect day with all the different colorful flowers blooming in the garden alongside the Brown Dog building to have a very special (and unique) memorial party. 

This “unique” memorial party was actually a ‘Living Memorial Party’ held for Claudia Ellis, who, with her husband Jim, held this special occasion in the garden that Claudia created many years ago. 

Jim and Claudia Ellis

Claudia and Jim came to McCloud in 2007 and opened up the Brown Dog Gallery and Gifts on the corner of Pine and Main Street in the heart of McCloud to share and sell art work. A lot of  the artwork was created by Claudia herself who is a fine painter.

Through the years, the Ellis’s moved to their farmhouse in Upper Lake, California, but kept their McCloud house to come back up to visit with their friends. 

The Ellis’ were very involved in the McCloud community and many of their  friends consider them family.  

It was devastating for their McCloud family to hear that Claudia was diagnosed with cancer. And it was a rough road as she went down hill. Her family all came to express their love and say “goodbye” towards the end. But as that end neared, she didn’t go. 

Pat and Kevin Ash, add a flower and their names to Claudia Ellis’ painting as a keepsake of her living memorial party. 

Thus, the planned memorial party turned into a living memorial party. Everyone of her friends felt that to give her a hug and share the stories they created with Claudia through the years is the right way to go. 

“As we get older and our friends move away, it is sad that we don’t get to see them much anymore,” says Jim Ellis. “Many of our friends said that this is the way to go. Have the party before we die to share the love and reminisce about good times we all have had together.” 

Claudia had a painting on canvas at the party for the guests to add a flower and their name to it as a keepsake and reminder of this very special event. She also held a silent auction of one of her paintings with the proceeds going to the new upcoming all-inclusive cancer treatment center in Redding that is going to be  called the Cancer League. This new cancer treatment center will be on the East side of the Cypress bridge with a view of the river. 

Jim and Claudia Ellis sit with Pat and Kevin Ash who outbid everyone and won Claudia’s painting in the silent auctions. The $2,000 proceeds will be donated to the upcoming Cancer League which is an all inclusive cancer treatment center in the process of  being built in Redding, California. 

Pat and Kevin Ash put $2,000 down to win the painting of Mt Shasta from Squaw Valley Road that Claudia painted in 2012.  Pat said, “This is the best way to celebrate my birthday, which is today, by spending it with my best friend, Claudia.”

Of the stories that were shared at this living memorial party, Claudia pointed out how some of her friends beat the odds of cancer by living many years past the predictions of the doctors. Claudia says that she plans to beat her cancer another 11 years so she can see her now 7-year-old granddaughter, Jersey, graduate from high school.


  1. Thank you Sharen. You captured the day perfectly. Claudia has always been a force to be reckoned with. Cancer picked the wrong person this time.
    Fight on Claudia and kick Cancer’s ass!

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