A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Jim Clausen, a full life remembered

Written January 27th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Jim Clausen talked to the Albany council in May 2013, this time about e-cigarettes.

Jim Clausen used to give me a hard time, pouncing on editorial remarks on this site as insufficiently conservative, harmful to liberty, or just plain wrong. Some of his views were over the top, but his heart was in the right place, and I’m sorry that he’s gone.

Clausen was 63 when he died in his Albany apartment on Jan. 6. I learned about it a couple of days later when his daughter Jo posted the news on Facebook. I kept waiting for an obituary to tell me about his life. None appeared, and I’m glad that I finally reached out to Jo, who responded with a long and touching tribute to her father.

Jim Clausen during the flag controversy. (Democrat-Herald photo by Mark Ylen)

Jim burst into the news here and across the country in October 2009 when his apartment complex tried to tell him he could not fly a small American flag on the back of his motorcycle while it was parked there. After he won that fight, he explained himself in a letter to the Democrat-Herald editor (me at the time). His father had served in World War II, he wrote. His brother was “retired Navy.” His son in the Army served two tours in Iraq and was headed back for his third. His sister was going to Afghanistan within a year’s time. “My flag stands for hope,” he went on. “It stands for freedom. It stands for sacrifice. It stands for the greatest republic to ever grace this planet. It stands for America and Americans. It stands for those who can no longer stand with us. This is why I fly my flag.”

In the years since, he kept at it, running for Albany mayor, being active in Republican campaigns, regularly writing to this site since 2013, and often appearing before the city council with arguments against anything that smacked to him like too much government control or a weakening of American freedom and individual responsibility.

Born in Long Beach, Calif., in 1953, Stephen Jimmy Clausen learned to assume responsibility early. His parents divorced when he was 7. Older than his brother and sister, he began to help around the house. “His mother would tell a story of how at 7 years old, he knew how to put the bed frames together,” Jo wrote.

In November 2015 he went to the emergency room and learned he had suffered not just one but several heart attacks and was not expected to live much longer. But he hung tough for more than a year, eating better, doing cardio rehab, taking up yoga, even going back to work as a machinist at TEKFAB Inc., and riding his motorcycle in the Albany Veterans Day parade.

He is survived by his sister Nancy Hutchison, brother Jack Clausen, and his children, Jini, Tim and Jo Clausen

Jo, the youngest and a yoga instructor in Washington state, said they came to Albany to make arrangements and clear out their father’s apartment. They got rid of his emergency food supply by giving some 700 cans to a food bank.

Clausen with his children, Tim, Jo and Jini, right, in 2009.

They also organized a memorial get-together at a North Albany yoga studio. Some 40 people came. The memories they shared rounded out the picture of who Jim Clausen was: a machinist, sure, but also a devoted church goer, writer of children’s books, inventor, motorcycle enthusiast, artist in paint and wood, chess player, golfer, recreational shooter, and maker of curtains, bedding and Halloween costumes for his kids.

The last time his youngest daughter talked to her Dad, she told him “the wonderful news of her engagement.” This, too, I learned from Jo about “one of the most important people in my life, my Dad.” (hh)





7 responses to “Jim Clausen, a full life remembered”

  1. tom cordier says:

    Thank you Hasso for the tribute to Jim. Many a time Jim and i would attend Council meetings. When we collected petition signatures Jim was constantly engaged, collected more signers that everyone, ran a crew of paid signature gathers and spent hours volunteering to get city spending more controlled. His death brings me sadness of his early passing. Yes he loved this Country and understood reality

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    I will miss him. One thing I strongly admired about him was his willingness to state his position — and use his real name. (Which is more than I can say for the anonymous trolls here & other blogs.) Even though I fundamentally disagreed with 99% of what he stated, that he did so, raised his level of credibility with me.

    I had just gotten appointed to Council in 2011 and he told us that he was going to be at the city library handing out leaflets berating the city. I told him I would do the same and offer info about the city position. He seemed a bit surprised that I would do that but had no problems… Nice day at the library, and we both handed out our respective “positions.” We didn’t change any minds, but the patrons enjoyed it. From that day forward, Jim & I had a very civil series of emails over the years outlining our positions.

    Yes, he could be a serious gadfly at times, but I do miss him…

    • centrist says:

      Hi Ray
      Not everyone “hiding” behind a nom de plume is a troll. My nom states my position.
      I respected his willingness to state ( and take) a position.
      Jim, gruss Gott

  3. Wendy Frome says:

    Thank you for writing and posting this article about Jim. I am very sad to hear he has passed away. I always enjoyed our conversations and admired his tenacity. He was a good man.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Nice tribute. Sad to hear of Jim’s death. My condolences to his kids.

    Before moving to a warmer clime I lived in Albany and followed the shenanigans at city hall. It was impossible not to know who Jim was or where he stood.

    Albany needs more people like Jim – willing to kick the table over once in a while and loudly challenge authority.

  5. Gary Peterson says:

    Thank you Hasso, for contributing wonderful words about Jim’s life, and the nice effect, he had on our community. I am so glad to see his life remembered, in print. Jim respected the American Flag, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Jim was my good friend; he will be sorely missed.

  6. James Engel says:

    Well…dog-gon-it, who will pick up the bar? Another of the COHORTS bites the dust! You now know the peace, what is real, and what is proper Jim! He still didn’t care for the CARA-sell give aways! …JE


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