Lester B. Clausen
MADISON- Lester B. Clausen, age 93, passed away on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2014. He was born May 7, 1920, in Elkton, S.D., the son of Ben and Mary (Trainor) Clausen. He attended school through 8th grade and worked in the Elkton area to help support his family, as was common in the Great Depression era.
He worked at Klosterman Ford Garage in Elkton where he fostered his love and aptitude for fixing cars. In February of 1942, Lester was drafted and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. During WWII he served as a radio operator on a C47 transporting paratroopers, supplies and tow gliders in Europe. His unit dropped paratroopers at midnight on D-Day and then returned to England because the gas tank had been shot out.
The next day his unit towed gliders to Omaha Beach. He was discharged on Aug. 15, 1945, rank staff sergeant. He was known as “Gutch” to his service buddies. On February 5, 1946, in Elkton, S.D., he was united in marriage to Audrey Prohl, of Lake Benton, Minn. During his military service, Les was stationed at Truax field in Madison and fell in love with the city.
He and Audrey moved to Madison right after they wed. Lester worked at Omar Bakery and Koch Motors as a mechanic before he opened his own full service gas station, Les’s Skelly Service on E. Johnson St. As his family grew and moved, he moved his business to Cottage Grove Road and then to Atlas Ave.
His business was fixing cars, but his family knows he could fix anything! Les was a charter member of St. Dennis Catholic Church in Madison and a long-time member of the East Side Business Men’s Association.
He loved to travel, play cards, shoot pool and found great enjoyment spending time with family and friends. In his later years, his eyesight diminished but he rose above that challenge, always amazing his family at what he could accomplish.
Even when he had to give up driving his car, he found ways to remain independent, including purchasing a motorized scooter. Les and his scooter could often be seen around the neighborhoods in Monona, on a long pleasure ride or completing a few errands or going to McDonalds. He continued to play cards, keep up his apartment, cook meals and completed all his own book work.
In January 2013 he moved to Heritage Senior Living. “Eating out” was one of his greatest pleasures, especially if his children and their families could be with him. Les was very proud to see his children together, having a good time, talking politics, providing a needed hug and raising a glass. The Clausen clan could always be recognized by their rounds of laughter, fostered by their wonderful father.
Lester is survived by his children, Doug (Georgiana) of River Heights, Utah, Steve (Jacquie) of McFarland, Wis., Cindy (John) Schrader of Berlin, Wis., and Dan (Nancy) of New Berlin, Wis.; his special sister-in-law and close friend, Sharon Dworak of Madison, Wis.; his grandchildren, Andrea , Marc (Rupaleem Bhuyan), Mike, Jon, Meggie, Jill, Dylan and Jacob; and great-granddaughter, Minali. He is further survived by his sister-in law, Gwen Clausen of Minneapolis, Minn.; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Audrey; his parents; a brother, Warren Clausen; Audrey’s parents, Art and Mamie Prohl; a sister-in law, Dolores Bengtson, and brothers-in-law Gene Dworak and Gordon Bengtson.
Funeral Services will be held at ST. DENNIS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 505 Dempsey Road, Madison, at Noon on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, with Father Randy Timmerman presiding. Burial will be held at Highland Memory Gardens. Visitation will be held at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Wednesday.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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