Rand Edwin Claussen ("Randy") was born December 8, 1943 to Forrest and Helen Claussen in Auburn, CA. He was the second of 4 children; Dale followed by Randy then Sue Ann and Carole.
After high school, he began his career working for the California Division of Forestry (CDF) for the Nev/Yuba/Placer Ranger Unit in Auburn as a firefighter. His first boss, Ski Pratt, would go on to be one of Randy's last bosses in Tuo/Calav Ranger Unit, followed by Ken Onstad.
He was transferred to Twain Harte in the late 60's. He was one of several people working and putting in the helitack pad at Columbia. He was promoted to Fire Caption and transferred to the Sonora station in the early 70's and after his helicopter crash in 1973, he was transferred to the Murphys station and later, in 1979, to the Copperopolis station where he would end of career in December of 1996.
According to his sister, Carole, "His smile always radiates, as if there was something fascinating out there that they couldn't see but he could". She said, "For the longest time, she thought his name was R-R-R-Randy because she heard her mom call him by that name so often – he was full of grand ideas but if they followed his shenanigans, there would be a price to pay. Randy, however, seemed to take his licks from his Mom and Dad in stride, with the twinkle in his eye that meant, that's okay, it was worth it".
Randy had a reputation for being one of the best firefighters out there. He would simply say that he was just doing his job. He was seen one time running toward the fire, jumping over fences, only to return with a little fawn in the arms – saving it from harm's way.
In the early 80's, Randy was involved in the Vegetation Management Program, going from ranch owners to homeowners, prescribing control burns to manage the amount of fires in our community. More people, however, were worried about losing their trees than losing their homes or their neighbor's home so eventually, it came to an end!!
He was a good athlete – good at all sports, from the softball teams, to volleyball to basketball. Bob Sutton said that CDF had a basketball team and played city league. With Randy's great body control, he was nicknamed "Clutch" Claussen as he got the basket when they needed it most!
Randy loved Modoc County. His ancestors all lived there. He and his dad would go hunting in Modoc County at Devil's Garden. He finally had his cabin built at Goose Lake where he enjoyed just relaxing and riding his ATV and at night, sitting on the deck looking out into the distance, enjoying all of sounds that nature has to offer.
He and his wife owned and operated Claussen's Corner from 2003 – 2016. They were known for all the free food that they served; the Monday night football meals, St Patrick's Day feats, and serving food for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Randy loved his 100%, all beef Hot Dogs. Super Bowl parties were a lot of fun as were Frog Jump weekends. The weekly pool tournaments were also popular and a lot of fun!
Randy was looking forward to a hip replacement but in August, he found out that he had cancer! It was a shock to everyone! All this time, he never gave it a thought that it could be cancer. He might have fought it if he had known earlier but by the time he knew about it, it has already spread!
He was a member of the Gun Club in Angels Camp, Moose Lodge of Ebbetts Pass #1123 and a Native Son, CHISPA Parlor 139.
Randy's sense of humor, his kind gestures, his generosity, his knowledge of everything and anything, his thoughtfulness and all the other wonderful traits he has will be missed!! He was an optimist through and through. He was ALWAYS good natured. He loved life!
I'm sure that my hubby, knowing how he was so positive in nature, is saying once again, with a twinkle in his eye, "that's okay – it was worth it"!!
Rand lost his battle of this awful, painful disease on October 10, 2020 (10-10, Out of Service)!
Rand Edwin Claussen is survived by his wife, Betty of Angels Camp; son Tony Claussen of Colorado; sister Carole (Glenn) Fredy of Applegate; granddaughter Rachel Claussen Colorado and grandson Randy Claussen of Montana and his beloved and loyal dog, Juno! He is also survived by his nephews, nieces, cousins, his CDF family and his many friends!
He will be buried in Alturas (Modoc County) and a Celebration of Life will be announced at a later time.
Donations may be made to the Ken Onstad Benevolent Fund, 785 Mountain Ranch Rd, San Andreas, CA 95249, Attn: Debbie Nelson.
Published in Sonora Union Democrat from Oct. 22 to Oct. 23, 2020.