Lynwood Clemens
1937 - 2016
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Lynwood George Clemens, Ph.D.


Lynwood George Clemens, Ph.D., of Okemos, Michigan, passed away on Sunday, March 20, 2016, surrounded by his wife and family. He was born to Frederick R. and Gladys V. (White) Clemens on December 2, 1937, and grew up in Olyphant, Pennsylvania. He attended Scott Township High School, received his B.S. in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 1960 and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966. Dr. Clemens completed his post-doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the  Oregon Primate Research Center.

Dr. Clemens joined the faculty of Michigan State University in the department of Zoology (now Integrative Biology) in 1968. During his tenure, Dr. Clemens became a leading figure in the development of the field of behavioral endocrinology, helping to shape the field with his research and organize the East Coast Animal Behavior Conference that would later become the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. Widely published in his field, Dr. Clemens was passionate about advancing knowledge through research publication and exchange at national and international conferences. He served as a trainer and mentor to many future scientists and professors in animal behavior and neurobiology. In addition to pursuing a successful research career, he dedicated his energy toward undergraduate teaching by converting his neurobiology courses to a team-based method long before the approach became widely accepted. In 2009 Dr. Clemens was the recipient of the Daniel S. Lehrman Lifetime Achievement Award in Behavioral Endocrinology from the Society of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.

Throughout his life, Lynwood enjoyed activities learned as a boy in Pennsylvania, including hunting and fishing. Among his favorite pastimes were sailing on the Great Lakes, skiing in northern Michigan and Colorado, and hiking in the woods at his beloved Vanderbilt chalet with his dogs. Above all, Lynwood cherished summers with his family at the cottage on Burt Lake.

Lynwood is survived by his wife, Linda Coniglio, his daughters, Lori McGahren-Clemens, Michele Nikolai (Thomas Nikolai), and Jennifer Clemens, as well as his grandchildren, Joshua, Anya, Michael, Delaney, and Russell. Also surviving are his brother, Frederick R. Clemens of Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, and sister, Lenita Merritt of Jermyn, Pennsylvania, as well as many nieces, nephews, and extended family. He will be remembered as a loving, caring, and committed husband, father, grandfather, brother, and teacher who embraced life with great spirit, passion, intellect, curiosity, and humor.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make contributions to the Burt Lake Preservation Association, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, or McLaren Hospice.

A celebration of life memorial will be held at a later date. The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, 1730 East Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Lansing State Journal on Mar. 27, 2016.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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14 entries
July 31, 2017
I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband, and your daughters the loss of their father. Life changes are so difficult, and there is a hole that never fills, it is a constant void. Yet, we go forward, finding the little joys, the laughter, and we carry their memories with us forever, keeping them with us always.

Take care, and the best to you,
February 18, 2017
I am sad to see that Dr. Clemens has passed away. He was a good soul. I have fond memories of Burt Lake. May he rest in eternal peace.
Clare Casey
December 26, 2016
Linda, I just heard about your loss. I am so sorry. I know this is a very difficult time of year and I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you. Warm thoughts your way.
Linda Asciutto
August 22, 2016
Dear Linda,

I remember Dr. Clemens in my early years of Graduate School at MSU (BRC) and then later, when both of you lived nearby (Groesbeck). I only recently learned of his passing, and was saddened by the news. I hope our paths cross again and we can share some thoughts. Sincere sympathies, Helen Arakelian Cirrito (Dept. of Zoology, M.S. 1973)
Helem Cirrito
April 7, 2016
I am so sorry for your loss. I know your father was a huge part of your life and will be missed by all. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Stay strong.
Abel Mendez
April 7, 2016
Linda, I am so sorry to hear of your loss and want you to know that Denny and I will be thinking of you. Lyn sounds like an incredible guy, his teaching and mentoring will live on in the many students he taught. I hope the pain of his loss is survived by lasting memories of him in your heart. Sincerely Sue & Denny Roubal, Marquette, MI
Susan Roubal
April 3, 2016
Garden Island in Lake Michigan in 1983 during a sailing excursion
It is with sadness that I internalize that Lyn has passed. My heartfelt feelings extend to all the family, friends and colleagues that held him so dear. I share your loss.

Lyn opened up many opportunities and experiences for me. He gently pushed me in directions with which I was unfamiliar. He expressed confidence in my abilities. He stretched my understanding of neuroscience and animal behavior that I have used ever since. I am truly grateful for having interacted with him.
Dave Brigham
April 2, 2016
Dear Clemens family, I am so sorry for your your loss. Lyn was a great man and a good friend. He will be remembered with smiles and find memories.
Gary Wegner
April 1, 2016
Lyn was a wonderful man and a tremendous mentor for me. He was, of course, instrumental in shaping my research understanding, focus and drive. But, he also taught me a great deal more.... especially how to view life and how to live life with passion.

I so appreciate the insights, time, and effort he gave to me. For all of Lyn's family and friends, may the love and passions you share carry you through this time of grief.
Gary M. Lange
March 31, 2016
Frank Beach and students - Berkeley 1966
My heart goes out to you, Linda, and to all of Lyn's family. His passing is a big loss to all of you. You and Lyn had been together for decades, but no doubt you both wished for more time together. I too wish that Lyn had had more years to give to you and to his family and friends. I'm very sorry that it was not to be.

Lyn's death is also a big loss to his academic family, of which I was glad to be a part. As you may know, I got my start in Frank Beach's lab in the '60s, helping Lyn observe and score Peromyscus mating behavior. I treasure memories of that congenial summer with Lyn. It was enough to persuade me to continue in Beach's lab, but not on Peromyscus. Despite Lyn's best efforts, my experience with them was enough to convince me that I preferred working with slow-motion giants -- like rats.

Nor can we forget that Lyn organized and hosted the first Eastern Conference on Reproductive Behavior and helped keep it going as it morphed through different names and forms into the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, which is still going strong. He certainly earned SBN's 2009 Lehrman Award, its highest honor.

I hope your family and friends give you all the love and support you need through this tough time.

In the attached photo from 1966, Lyn is front row right in the very colorful slacks.
Benjamin Sachs
March 29, 2016
I was one of Lyn's colleagues in the 60s in Berkeley and, more distant, for many years after.. Even though we are not all in close contact, I'm sure we all feel the loss of Lyn. We are getting to the age where this seems to hit us more and more frequently. I think we all have aches and pains of varying severity, but deaths really hit hard. Lyn was a cherished colleague.
March 28, 2016
This is an old friend of Lori's. My Mom read the obituary to me yesterday. I am so sorry about her father's death and the sadness which must come with it. Please say hello to Lori and Michelle. I hope their children are doing well and will give them comfort. I met Linda once briefly at their home.
Jean Hall
March 28, 2016
Lyn influenced so many of our lives in so many ways. When I began teaching over 30 years ago, I realized that I had taken on Lyn's classroom persona quite unconsciously. When I met with my graduate students I always tried to channel Lyn's supportive, positive approach; especially when confronted with a sad-faced student suffering from a case of perplexing results. Lyn shaped our professional and personal styles in ways that he never imagined. Although we will miss him, his legacy continues to live on in his students and in their students.
Gary Dohanich
March 27, 2016
Dear Linda,
We are so sorry for your loss. Please know our prayers have been and are with you. We wish you peace.
John and Pete (your MSU basketball neighbors)
Go Green
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