CENTRALIA — Carmen Elaine McClaren, age 63, of Centralia, Illinois, peacefully passed away at 2:15 A.M. on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, at her home with her family by her side.  She was born on October 12, 1960, in Saint Louis, Missouri, the daughter of William Elmer and Virginia Lee (Nogle) Kniker.  She married Steven McClaren on October 8th, 1982, in Salem, Illinois, and they later divorced, remaining good friends.

Carmen is survived by her loving family; son Steven Lee McClaren and fiancée Shiann Hobbs of Sandoval, Illinois; grandchildren, Dustin McClaren of Centralia, Illinois, Hayleigh Lee McClaren of Centralia, Illinois, Steven Blake McClaren of Sandoval, Illinois, and Steven Hunter McClaren of Sandoval, Illinois: great-grandchild, Auriella McClaren of Centralia, Illinois; brothers, Harry Wadley and wife Carolyn of Centralia, Illinois, James Wadley of Illinois, and Ronald Kniker of Centralia, Illinois; sisters, Terri Salzer of Florida, and Mary Kniker of Centralia, Illinois, and her friends, especially Ginger Patten of Centralia, Illinois.

Carmen was preceded in death by her parents, William Kniker and Virginia Kniker; brother, Raymond Edward Kniker; and daughter-in-law, Rita Marie McClaren.

Carmen was a very independent person with several interests. She loved to cook for her family and friends.  She enjoyed thrifting at yard sales, always thinking about items for her family; and collecting those items at her home.  She was very active in making quilts and crocheting.  She took a moment out of her day to watch her soap operas, especially Days of Our Lives.  She looked forward to being brought a cold McDonald’s Frappe by her granddaughter every day.  Carmen wasn’t very patient in life, except when she would sit with her pole in the water fishing for catfish for hours. Carmen wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to be with her grandkids, as they were her pride and joy. She loved it when her granddaughter, Hayleigh, moved in with her, and she wanted to see her give birth to a great grandbaby.  She cherished the time she spent with her family and friends.

Carmen dedicated her career to caring for others and was employed as a housekeeper at Brookside Manor in Centralia, Illinois, and later was an activities director until she retired due to her failing health.  Early years living in Herrin, Illinois, with her family. Her adult life was spent in Centralia, Illinois.

It was the wishes of Ms. Carmen Elaine McClaren to leave this world quietly with no public visitation or services.  The family will celebrate the memory of her life at a future date.  Funeral arrangements are in the care of the Moran Queen-Boggs Funeral Home at 134 South Elm Street in Centralia, Illinois 62801. Please view the online obituary, send condolences, or share memories with Ms. McClaren’s family at