Clo Ann (Wilkins) McNall was born to a life of adventure at midnight on a hot summer night on July 18, 1933 in Goodland, KS, to Cecil and Alice (Haller) Wilkins. From that time on she was a confirmed ‘night owl.’ It was in Goodland where she became a born again Christian at the age of six, and continued on this journey until her passing.
She died Aug. 11, 2019 in Orofino. She was 86.
For many she will be remembered by her column From this Chair, which appeared weekly for several years in the Clearwater Tribune.
Clo Ann started her adventurous, challenging life as the middle child and only girl of three children. She laughed and joked her way through life in the good times and the bad times.
She was blessed with an everlasting faith in God and His power to care for her and her children.
Clo Ann, whose name was the object of many humorous misspellings and mispronunciations, was taken from a True Story magazine about a fictitious southern bell.
She always said her favorite misspelled name was on a letter addressed to her as Mr. Cleann McNazz. Another of her favorites was Cloann McNutt.
She received her formal education in Kansas and Colorado, moving to Colorado Springs at the age of 14 to attend school, and was the valedictorian of her class. Clo Ann learned to play the piano, organ and accordion during her young years, and sang in a high school quartet. She had her first newspaper job in 1951 at age 18 working for her father at the Gazette Telegraph in Colorado Springs, CO.
Clo Ann married John McNall Oct. 19, 1951 in Goodland, KS. Her three children were born to this union. The marriage ended in divorce in 1984.
In 1954 her parents purchased a newspaper, the Plainsman, in Hugo, CO, for her and her older brother, Bryce.
Clo Ann’s three children were born in Hugo and in 1963 the paper was sold and Clo Ann and her family moved to Chewelah, WA, where they purchased the Chewelah Independent. Bryce and his family relocated to Mitchell, NE, where they purchased a newspaper. The two families kept in close contact down through the years.
In 1969 the McNalls purchased the Clearwater Tribune from Bob and Vera Werner. Clo Ann became sole owner of the paper in 1984 with the assistance of her daughter, Marcie (McNall) Stanton.
Clo Ann was the second woman publisher in Idaho. After acquiring the Clearwater Tribune she converted the paper to Desktop Publishing, and the paper was the first weekly in Idaho to convert to Desktop Publishing. Clo Ann served on the board of directors for the Idaho Newspaper Association.
During her lifetime she served on the board of various churches she attended and was active in the music programs.
Clo Ann married Charlie Pottenger of Lewiston on Sept. 26, 2008 in the Orofino City Park. She lovingly referred to him as the ‘Phantom’ as she said “after being single for 25 years Charlie appeared out of nowhere and we were married two years later.”
Her three children, Lynette, Diane and Marcie, and their children, Ashley, Cody, Lacey and Bonney, were the love of her life. She cherished every day with them and said the best times of her life were those spent with her family.
She loved music, art and everything beautiful in nature. Clo Ann taught her kids and grandkids to spot and appreciate the full moon. Her quiet, gracious strength was her legacy, these traits and her devotion will be forever cherished by her family. Her passing left a hole in the hearts of those who love her, and she will be forever missed.
She is survived by her husband, Charlie Pottenger; three daughters, Lynette Codr of Meridian, Diane Baldwin of Spokane and Marcie Stanton of Orofino; four grandchildren, Cody Stanton, of Orofino, Ashley (Stanton) Howland, of Lewiston, Lacey (Codr) Johnson, of Boise, and Bonney Codr, of Nampa.
Also, six great-grandchildren, Tristan and Jaden Johnson, of Boise, Ivy Codr, of Nampa, twins Braylon and Kaden Howland, and Harper Howland, of Lewiston; and her lifelong friend, Maxine Wilkins Goldsmith, of Loveland, CO.
Clo Ann was preceded in death by her parents in the 1990’s, her brother, Bryce Wilkins, in 2007 and younger brother, Hal Wilkins, who died at age six in 1945. She was also preceded in death by her beloved pug dog, Mary Jane.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Aug. 24, at 3 p.m. at the Best Western Lodge at River’s Edge in Orofino, 615 Main Street. Casual attire is welcome.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Ronald McDonald House at 1015 W. 5th Street, Spokane, WA, 99204 or to Shriners Hospitals for Children-Spokane, 911 W. Fifth Ave., Spokane, WA, 99204.