Clare Pierce Parents: How Did They Die?


Hulu’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ follows the story of Clare Pierce, whose life is changed after the sudden death of her mother. Clare had a promising future, but in processing her grief, she goes down a dark path, adversely affecting her relationships. Even when things get better for her, Clare dearly feels her mother’s absence. As we follow her life as a young adult and a 49-year-old woman, we see the constant presence of her mother in her mind and how it affects her decisions. The show is partially based on the real-life of Cheryl Strayed. Due to the fictional elements in the show, ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ presents a mix of reality and fiction in Clare’s parents’s lives, too.

Bobbi Lambrecht’s Final Days: Succumbing to Lung Cancer

Cheryl Strayed’s mother, Bobbi Lambrecht, died at 45 due to lung cancer in 1991. The illness was in its final stages and claimed her life within seven weeks of diagnosis. Called “an Army brat who adored horses and Hank Williams,” Bobbi was nineteen when she got pregnant and married Ronald Nyland. They had three kids together— Karen, Cheryl, and Leif. Bobbi suffered abuse at the hands of her husband and eventually decided to leave him when she was 28, almost a decade into their marriage.

A single mother, Bobbi took a couple of jobs, like waitressing and working in a factory, to sustain her family. Cheryl recalls, “There were times my mother had two dollars in her purse.” Sometime later, Bobbie met Eddie, who was a carpenter. Almost a year after they got married, Eddie met with an accident on the job and received $12,000 as a settlement. They used the money to buy a plot of land in Aitkin County, Minnesota, where Eddie built a house from scratch. Until then, the family lived in a tarpaper shack with no amenities.

“When I was 12 or 13, my family moved to northern Minnesota. My mother and stepfather bought 40 acres that were really out in the woods, 20 miles from the nearest town—and the nearest town was 400 people. My mom would always say we were like modern homesteaders. We built our own house out of fallen trees, and we stripped the bark ourselves. My stepfather was a carpenter, and he brought home scrap wood from his various projects,” Cheryl revealed.

When Cheryl got into St. Thomas University, Bobbi joined her to attend the free classes that the university offered to the parents. Things turned bad when Bobbi was diagnosed with cancer while she and Cheryl were seniors in college. In an essay in The Sun, Cheryl revealed that her mother “feared she was too old” for going to college and “was a shaky student at best” but earned straight As in college.

Bobbi wanted to major in six subjects but had to settle at two.“Just before she died, she was thinking about becoming a costume designer or a professor of history. She was profoundly interested in the American pioneers, the consciousness of animals, and the murders of women believed to be witches,” Cheryl wrote. She stated that her “mother was coming into her own” after a lifetime of struggle.

Cheryl Strayed’s Father Died of Heart Attack

Cheryl Strayed’s father, Ronald Nyland, died of a heart attack on June 22, 2021. He was alone in his house, woke with chest pains, and passed away before the paramedics arrived. He had five children, two from his second marriage, but he was estranged from all his kids.

Nyland was a steelworker in western Pennsylvania. He married Bobbie after she got pregnant. Things always remained difficult between them due to his abusive behavior. “He broke her nose. He broke her dishes. He skinned her knees, dragging her down a sidewalk in broad daylight by her hair,” Cheryl revealed in her memoir, ‘Wild.’ Eventually, Bobbi left and took her three kids with her. The family had recently moved to Minneapolis, but after the divorce, Nyland went back to Pennsylvania.

Cheryl revealed that she and her siblings were barely in touch with their father. “My communications with him since my parents broke up when I was six consisted mostly of letters that would arrive a couple of times a year,” Cheryl wrote in her blog. The last time she saw him was when she was fifteen. She tried to reach out to him years after her mother’s death. “I thought, ‘I’m just going to track my dad down and just see. To see if he was open enough to become something of a father to me. And he wasn’t. And that’s been proven to be true a couple of times over my life until I was like, ‘I’m done,’” she said. Due to the strained nature of their relationship, Cheryl said that his death didn’t feel like a loss to her because she’d grieved him decades ago.

Read More: Where is Cheryl Strayed’s Brother Today?