Alden Winship Clausen

Alden Winship Clausen Resident of Hillsborough
Beloved and admired for his dry wit, intellectual integrity and unbounded generosity, A.W. "Tom" Clausen died peacefully at Mills Peninsula Hospital on January 22, 2013 from complications of pneumonia.
Born in the small town of Hamilton, Illinois, on February 17, 1923, to Morton and Elsie Clausen, Tom rose from a part-time job counting cash at a bank branch in Los Angeles to become President and CEO of BankAmerica Corporation. He held this position twice, interrupted only after accepting a five-year appointment as President of the World Bank, from 1981-1986, by then President Jimmy Carter.
The young Mr. Clausen attended Carthage College in Illinois before serving as a flying meteorological officer in the Army Air Corps from 1943-1946.
After receiving his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1949, Mr. Clausen took a part-time job at Bank of America while studying for the California bar and courting Mary Margaret Crassweller, who had moved to Los Angeles from Minnesota.
Soon after securing a spot in the bank's $225-a-month job training program, he married Ms. Crassweller. She died in 2001 from complications of Alzheimer's. The next year he wed Helen Higgins who had been his secretary at Bank of America and the World Bank.
Mr. Clausen was a wholly engaged leader throughout his far-reaching career. He served on the boards of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, the UCSF Foundation, The Haas Business School at UCSF Berkeley and Carthage College in Wisconsin, his alma mater. He also served as a trustee of the Asia Foundation and the International Center for Economic Growth and was a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, The Brookings Institution, The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, the California Business-Higher Education Forum and Korea-U.S. Wisemen's Council.
Fond of people and conversation, Mr. Clausen was known for frequently hosting intimate dinner parties. Guests often included a cadre of local friends known affectionately as the Hillsborough Mafia and business and civic leaders. He was renowned for his reliance on "old Norwegian" sayings such as " life is nothing more than common sense" and "when all else fails don't forget sheer dumb luck".
His enduring charitable legacy continues in the works of The Clausen Center for World Business at Carthage College, the A.W. and Mary Margret Clausen Chair at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, The Diabetes Center at UCSF, and Educational and Support Scholarships Northern Light School in Oakland.
In addition to his wife, Helen, Mr. Clausen is survived by two sons, Eric and Mark, and five grandchildren; Alexander, Sean, Kellan, Nicholas and Anastasia.
Friends and family are invited to a memorial service on Sunday, February 17, 2013, at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, 1500 Easton Drive, Burlingame.
The family requests that contributions in his memory be made payable to "UCSF Foundation" and write either "Memory and Aging Center" or "Diabetes Center" on the memo line. Please also note the gift is "honoring A.W. Clausen." Checks should be mailed to:
UCSF Foundation
Box 45339
San Francisco, CA


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 10, 2013