James Claussen

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James L. Jim Claussen James L. Jim Claussen, 83, Topeka, passed away on July 15, 2014 at Midland Hospice House in Topeka. Jim was born Sept. 28, 1930 in Topeka, the only child of Arthur and Helen Mack Claussen. He attended Topeka Public schools and graduated from Topeka High School in 1948 where he was President of the senior class. Jim then attended Park College and Kansas University where he met his wife to be, Leola Stewart from Hutchinson, KS. While at K.U. he pledged Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was very active in theatre productions receiving a Best Student Actor award in 1951. Jim married Lee on March 16, 1952 in Hutchinson. After school, Jim and Lee moved to Topeka where he was employed in the family business Mosby-Mack Motor Co. After selling the Ford dealership to the Noller family, Mosby-Mack became the Studebaker/Mercedes-Benz dealership and operated a full service chain conveyed car washes in Topeka and Hutchinson. After Mosby-Mack closed operation, Jim became Executive Director of the Mental Health Assoc. in Shawnee County. At this position he helped create and establish a program for former mental health partners Breakthrough House and was the Director during its birth and growth. Sensing a need for change, he decided to run for City Commission and was elected to three terms as Finance Commissioner from 1979 until 1985 when the city government was changed by public vote. He was then hired as Executive Director of the Kansas Masonic Foundation. He served in this capacity until his retirement in 1995. Actively involved in Masonic bodies, Jim was a member of Siloam Lodge #225, Scottish Rite, where he was a 33rd degree Mason, Arab Shrine Temple, York Rite, Eastern Star, Royal Order of Jesters, High Twelve and De Molay Legion of Honor. Memberships over the years include 20-30 Club (past President), Downtown Rotary, Salvation Army Advisory Board, Central Congregational Church and Lakeview Fishing and Hunting Assn. Theatre was an avid hobby and Jim performed and worked on many stages in and around Topeka. His first appearance at Topeka Civic Theatre was in the 1938 production Our Town with both of his parents. Many roles followed and he won several Renna Hunter awards and was elected to the TCT Hall of Fame. He enjoyed performing many times with his wife, Lee, after they met on stage at K.U. in 1951. After retirement, Jim and Lee enjoyed traveling the country in their motor home and visited 44 of the lower 48 states. Jim s most recent interest has been volunteering back at K.U. for Audio Reader, a service for the blind and print disabled. Jim is survived by his two children Nick Claussen of Roeland Park, KS; Sally Reece of Centennial, CO; five grandchildren Dylan, Travis, Collin, Austin and Shelby; and one great granddaughter Henna. Lee preceded him in death on January 22, 2013. Memorial contributions may be made to Audio Reader at 1120 West 11th St., P.O. Box 847, Lawrence, KS. 66044 or The Kansas Masonic Foundation at 2909 SW Maupin Ln., Topeka, KS. 66614 or The Salvation Army at 1320 SE 6th Ave., Topeka, KS. 66607. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at Penwell-Gabel Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Road. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Private family inurnment will be in Mount Hope Cemetery. To leave a special message for the family online, visit www.PenwellGabelTopeka.com Jim Claussen

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Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home & Crematory
3700 SW Wanamaker Rd
Topeka, KS 66610
(785) 272-9798
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal from July 20 to July 27, 2014
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