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Clinton Taylor DeMilt
November 6, 1989 ~ November 2, 2023 (age 33) 33 Years Old
Clinton Taylor DeMilt passed away from complications of pneumonia in the early morning hours of November 2, 2023, in the arms of his devoted mother and sisters.
Clinton was born November 6, 1989, in Sandy, Utah to Tamara (Turner) and Gary DeMilt, as the baby of the family with two older sisters: Kassandra and Brianna.
As a five month old infant, Clinton's brain was ravaged by an unknown disease that left him with severe brain damage and visible holes in his brain on imaging. After three weeks in an induced coma, and over two months at Primary Children's Hospital, we brought home a forever-changed baby, and charted our own path as a family with this new and special boy.
While in the hospital, his family and nurses began playing music for him. This was the start of his life-long love affair with music. Little Mermaid soundtrack was his obvious favorite, but every Disney and children's song had their moments--except the Circle of Life--which was strictly forbidden.
Our baby boy came home to us on oxygen and a feeding tube, having lost all natural reflexes from brain damage, including the ability to suck. We had to start from scratch, teaching him how to eat and drink, and learning basic motor skills. He was able to eat solid foods for many years and enjoyed french-fries, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, pizza and chicken nuggets, among other things. He first learned to drink from a special-tipped bottle, and later was able to suck thru a straw. For years, he would only drink plain pedialyte. As he aged, he finally graduated to water and discovered a love for root beer!
Shortly after being discharged from the hospital in 1990, we relocated to California. Here, Clinton began to grow and show us what he was really capable of. He got his first wheelchair at 18-months-old. We began working with his hands, and teaching him to play with toys and engage with the world thru touch. He also became more verbal, and eventually learned family names, simple words and common phrases; his sisters adore his special names for them. As he grew, we learned that Clinton understood far more than he could tell us. He had a distinct personality and ways of expressing himself. He continued to love noisy toys and music (day and night), and would "kick" his legs with excitement while laying on his back, to his favorites. He had a teasing nature and knew how to be silly. He also did not have any trouble letting us know when he was unhappy. He loved for us to sing to him, tell him stories and nursery rhymes, and count into the hundreds. He made up games and thought bodily functions were hilarious, like most children. His vision was diminished, so he particularly enjoyed interesting sounds. Since his fine motor skills were lacking, he would often hold a toy up with one hand, and use his face to press the buttons.
Clinton started an early intervention program in California at age three, and began riding the first of many busses to school. He loved school, and his teachers and therapists loved him. He attended school until he was booted at 22- years-old. He graduated from both seminary and high-school through the special education program. Aside from his charm, people fell in love with his curly locks, big brown eyes, thick brows and black spider-leg lashes, everywhere he went. School was no exception.
At age eight, Clinton was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which allowed him to participate in some temple ordinances.
Our family returned to Utah in 1995 where Clinton continued school and lived at home. By age 17, home assistance became increasingly difficult to retain. In 2006, Clinton was placed in a care facility for special needs children and adults like himself, where he made friends and even had a girlfriend! But in 2010, he endured another severe infection involving his brain, which altered his baseline function. The level of care he required after this encounter prevented him from returning to the same facility; he was moved to a skilled nursing facility where he resided until his final big move to Boise, Idaho in 2012, following his mom's relocation. He spent nine years at The Good Samaritan Boise before they closed their doors in 2021, and resided at the Life Care Center, Boise for the last two years.
Our family gave him as many experiences as possible. He was our beloved son and brother, and we never hesitated to include him in our adventures--whether it was a trip across the country, or a quick ride to the drivethrough for some fries. He traveled to Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona, and Yellowstone National Park; he lived in Utah, California, and Idaho. Clinton loved swimming and bathtime, bowling, and biking, and dabbled in snowmobiling and adapted skiing. He rode amusement park rides and enjoyed trips to Marine World, DisneyLand California and Lagoon. He loved a good thrill! He had unique opportunities to attend an NFL 49ers game, a Para-Olympics closing ceremony, a rock concert with David Archuletta, and participate in the Pioneer's Day Parade.
Clinton was blessed with four nieces and five nephews to sing, play, and be silly with. They loved to make him laugh, and will greatly miss him.
Though our family is gutted by this loss, we find peace in knowing he is released from his limited and failing body, dancing freely across the heavens.
He is survived by his mother-Tamara Sorensen Turner, father-Gary DeMilt; sisters-Kassandra Namba and Brianna Zwahlen; nieces and nephews- Dakota, Oakley, Ryden, Taylor, and Luna Namba; and Mason, Sophia, Connor and Ryker Zwahlen. He was adored by many aunts, uncles and cousins. A viewing will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on November 9, 2023, at the Relyea Mortuary at 318 N. Latah in Boise, Idaho. Services will be held on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2299 N. Five Mile (between Fairview and Ustick). Note: there will not be a viewing the morning of the services.
Donations can be made to Shriner's Hospitals for Children in Clinton's name.
Thursday November 9, 2023 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM Relyea Funeral Chapel 318 North Latah St Boise, ID 83706
Video is available for this event
Friday November 10, 2023 11:00 AM N. Five Mile LDS Chapel 2299 N. Five Mile Rd. Boise, ID 83713
Morris Hill Cemetery 317 N Latah St Boise, ID 83706