Memorial set Saturday for lifelong Chilkat Valley resident


June 29, 2023

A celebration of life for Mae Ila Clayton Haines will be held at 1 p.m., July 1 at the Haines ANB Hall.

Haines, 60, died Dec. 11, 2022 in Anchorage after 10 years afflicted by myelodyplastic syndrome. “She always said, ‘I may have MDS but MDS doesn’t have me,’” husband Alan Haines said this week.

Friends and family members this week said she would be remembered for her crafting creations and oddball humor but mostly for the love she showered on her children and grandchildren.

Her three grandchildren said in a statement, “She loved being a grandma. That was the main happiness in her life.”

Mae was the fourth of five chidren. She born to Walter Clayton Sr. and Gerry Clayton at the Haines Medical Clinic on June 28, 1962. Her ancestry was Tlingit and Southern Tutchone eagle-wolf. She was a member of the Chilkoot Indian Association and Champagne Aishihik First Nations.

Mae grew up near the end of Mud Bay Road with friend and neighbor Barbara McRae. Joined by Nadine Price, the trio became inseparable, making long hikes and using shellacked moose poop and porcupine quills to fashion “moose-quitos” they sold to passing tourists as souvenirs.

“We’d be so happy to make two dollars a day and then we’d hike to the cannery to spend it all on penny-candy. May Bay was our playground,” Price recounted.

The friends became the nucleus of the first Haines High School girls basketball team, petitioning the school board for a squad in the late 1970s following passage of federal legislation requiring equal spending on women’s sports.

Nicknamed “Bones,” Mae was a skinny “stand-there-and-put-her-arms-out player” who clotheslined opponents, Price said. The squad made its own uniforms and lost every game its first season, she said. “We didn’t care. We had our theme song, ‘We Are Family.’ We were all athletic and silly together. We were going to buy Pyramid Harbor and make it a horse and dog farm.”

After graduating from Haines High School in 1981, Mae moved to Anchorage, working in housekeeping in hotels and joining childhood friends for grocery-shopping excursions on Sundays. She met soldier Alan Haines and they moved to Woodinville, Wash., where they married in 1992. The family returned to the Chilkat Valley in 2000.

Besides hiking and long walks, Mae enjoyed making crafts with her grandchildren, including personalized picture frames she gave as gifts. “Right now I have enough craft materials to open up a store,” husband Alan said this week.

Mae Clayton Haines was preceded in death by her parents Walt Clayton Sr. and Gerry Clayton and by a sister, Maggie Clayton. She is survived by brothers Lee Clayton of Banning, Calif. and Walter Clayton Jr. of Haines and by sister Ann Murray of Anchorage. She also is survived by husband Alan Haines of Haines, daughters Kalee Clayton of Haines and Kyra Copsy of Klamath Falls, Ore. and by grand-daughters Joslyn Williams of Haines and Kyleea and Elora Copsy of Klamath Falls.

The July 1 service is a potluck. Memorial activities will include a trip to Pyramid Island.


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