Claude was born on 23 March 1915 at Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah to Milas E. and Annie Elizabeth Kimber Wakefield.
As a child he was always busy finding something to do. He had a good imagination which always helped him to find something to keep him busy. Once when he was four or five years old he had a pack of gum which he proceeded to hide for safe keeping. When he went looking for, but couldn’t find, it he lit a match, which immediately set a near by curtain on fire. He left out immediately, being a kid didn’t realize the seriousness of what he had done. Mother was out side and just had the feeling she should rush to the house, where she started fighting fire. Claude’s brother, Ellis, and his sister LaRetta, showed up and helped carry water to put out the fire before it did too much damage.
His schooling was at Grouse Creek and Ogden. He attended a Business School in Ogden, and worked at the Bloom Hotel, which used to be on the northwest corner of Washington and 25th street. While in Ogden he played guitar for a small band which played around the area. In 1931 he received his certificate as Power Engineer.
Later he returned to Grouse Creek where he helped in his Dad’s store and in the post office. He helped with haying on the different ranches in the valley. On one ranch he was hitching up the horses to return to the field after lunch when a mare kicked at another horse and hit Claude on both shoulder blades with her hoofs. The boss said: “Well you can’t work like that so go on home” and left Claude to walk the miles home and in terrible pain. At home Mother doctored him the best she could and brother Arlin took him to Lucin to catch the train for Ogden and a doctor. It took a year for the shattered shoulder blades to heal and they bothered him some the rest of his life.
He sang in the Ward choir and was with the choir when it went to Ogden to sing at Stake conference in the Ogden Tabernacle.
In 1936 Claude hired out as a caterpillar operator building roads on the Western Shoshone Indian reservation at Owyhee Nevada, under the supervision of his brother-in-law Harold Smith who was the reservations Project manager.
In the fall of 1938 one of the teachers at the Grouse Creek school was Zona Jensen of Bear River City, Utah. Claude was working in the store the day she stopped by to buy a candy bar. She later told her teacher companion that she was going, to marry him. They were married 28 October 1939. At that time Zona was teaching school somewhere around Tremonton.
She finished her contract and in the spring, after Claude’s Mother’s death 2 January 1940, she and Claude stayed with his dad until sometime in the late spring of 1941 they moved to Seattle, Washington on the promise of a job with a Peet Moss Company.
The Job didn’t work out and after many hardships and failed promises, Claude finally went to work for Boeing Aircraft building planes and equipment for the war effort as WWII was in full swing. He tried to enlist for service but was turned down because of his job with Boeing.
During his time with Boeing he had a lot of school and training in many fields of endeavor, all of which helped him later in his life. AT this time, too, he was made Bishop and also was on the Stake Planning committee, and at his suggestion, after much investigation and prayer, the Stake bought a huge farm and Claude was appointed manager of it.
In 1942 Claude was IUA President and the following took place between 1942 and 1944: he was Ward Clerk, Second counselor in a Bishopric, Bishop and High councilman.
In 1945-46 at the winding down of the War and war effort, Boeing had a big layoff of personnel and Claude was one of those who found himself unemployed. He went to work for a company that made card board boxes, where he stayed for 8 months. Then he went to work for a large grocery chain and this brought about a big change in his life.
December 1950 the grocery chain bought a SOD acre farm at Moses Lake, Washington. Moses Lake was becoming a large farming area because of water obtained from the new Grand Coolee dam. Claude was hired as manager of the farm. He moved his family and for 3 years he managed the farm, until the farm was sold. Again Claude found himself working for Boeing, this time at Moses Lake, as Electronics coordinator and Planner.
At Moses Lake he took night classes at the Moses Lake high school, and eventually opened a letter shop at which mimeographing, reporting, advertising and secretarial work was done, At this same time he was the executive secretary of the Columbia Basin Construction council; Chairman of the Grant County school board (4 years); secretary of the Toastmasters Club; and member of the Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce Agriculture committee.
Also during the time at Moses Lake Claude was a Second Councilor in the Bishopric, also a first councilor in the Grand Coolee Stake Presidency and was High Priest quorum President.
In 1956 his wife, Zona, learned she had cancer, which was later brought into remission. She was teaching school at that time.
Claude said that some of the greatest blessing he had while in his callings at Moses Lake were the many General Authorities who were guests in their home. He recalled that Milton R. Hunter; Antone R. Ivans; Spencer W. Kimball; LeGrande Richards; Marion G. Romney; And Elray L. Christianson were a few. He learned what wonderful human beings they are and such powerfully dedicated men of God.
May 1962 Claude was transferred by Boeing back to Seattle. There he was made the Gospel Doctrine teacher in the Ward. In 1963 he became a member of the High Council of the Seattle Stake. In December 1964 he was ordained Patriarch of the Seattle Stake. During this time in Seattle he was also emcee for the Chamber of Commerce, Toastmaster Club and he did a lot of entertaining and was noted for his playing banjo, or guitar, and singing folk songs.
The final laying off from Boeing was 28 February 1964. After that he affiliated with the New York Life Insurance company and remained with them until his death 9 December 1983.
After the return to Seattle Claude had a serious eye problem which ended up in surgery at Mayo brothers Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After that he had to wear very thick lensed glasses.
Claude and Zona had three children, all of whom were adopted. ZoAnn, born 15 December 1945. Died 30 May 1991. Claude Kerry, born 15 May 1950, died 18 November 1970. Cameron Leon, born 2 May 1955.
Zona was born 16 March 1916 and died 29 June 1975, of cancer. Claude later married Beth Steven McFarlan, a long time friend of the Moses Lake days, who survived him.
Claude had many health problem and heartaches, but them with patience. He had a good sense of humor, love for his family and fellow man, and above all, testimony of the Gospel and the living God and his Christ.
He suffered love of life, a strong son Jesus. He spent years working to map out the possible route of the Lost Tribes. He had huge maps hanging on his study wall showing the possible routes and he had lots of notes giving the reasons why the routs could be that way. He was preparing to write a book on his research.
These few pages are only a small portion of Claude’s history, his good times, his bad times his trials and his times of accomplishments. Through it all he kept his sense of humor, his love of music, and life itself. “He was a wonderful speaker, both of Gospel and in general. He spoke at many of the family funerals. He was well read and had a really good recall He was a very loving brother and we do miss him.