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Clause, Gerald Gonder


Posted By: Ken Baker (email)
Date: 3/14/2023 at 10:16:07

Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home
119 West Lincolnway
Jefferson, IA

Gerald Gonder Clause, 87, former Jefferson, IA banker, died quietly on February 27, 2006, in his retirement community of Lago Vista, TX.
Gerald was born on November 15, 1918, near Grand Junction, IA. He was the grandson of a Swedish immigrant Clause Gustafson, who changed his name upon arriving in America to Gus Clause. He grew up on a farm in eastern Greene County, IA. There, he knew farm life before rural electrification. He knew outdoor plumbing, party telephone lines, and shoveling coal for heat. He knew growing up with corn, beans and livestock and sharing farm chores with five brothers and sisters. He planted, cultivated, harvested, fed cattle, milked cows, and poured whole cream on his breakfast cereal. He won the state dairy cattle judging contest as a teen. He survived the depression, the winter of 1936, and a broken neck. The neck injury was a result of racing his brothers on horse drawn hayracks back to the "home place" for noon "dinner".
He played baseball in high school. He got a hit in a Grand Junction High School baseball game against future Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, from Van Meter, despite being told by his coach not to swing. Feller had already pitched for the Cleveland Indians before finishing high school. Feller's coach was his future daughter-in-law's father.
After graduating from high school, he went to work as a teller at the Home State Bank in Jefferson. On the day before Pearl Harbor, he met Jean Eble of Sac City and they were married the following year. Uncle Sam didn't want soldiers with broken necks, but tiring of the disapproving glances of the locals whose sons were overseas, he enlisted anyway. He was assigned to personnel companies in Kansas and Denver, CO, and was discharged from the Army in 1945 as a Master Sergeant.
Following WWII, he returned to the bank and he and Jean began raising two children born during the war. He didn't attend college, but continued his banking education at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University's Schools of Banking. In those circles, he was known as Gerry.
During those years in Jefferson, he taught his children how to play golf, attempted to teach them how to balance a checkbook, coached Little League, led Boy Scout and Explorer troops to Philmont Scout Ranch, near Taos, NM for mountain camping and Ely, MN for canoeing trips. He was a community leader, active in Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, the First Methodist Church, Eastern Star, and Masonic Lodge. He was named Jefferson Citizen of the Year, was a 33rd degree Mason, and was awarded scouting's highest leadership award, the Silver Beaver.
Gerald worked at the bank for 44 years. He sat across a desk from people with dirt in their nails and manure on their boots. He knew their problems and their needs as farmers and small business owners. Under his leadership, the bank grew to the largest in the county. He retired as President and Chairman of the Board in 1981, and moved to Texas. He bought a pair of cowboy boots and a golf cart. For 25 years he and Jean enjoyed golf, winters without snow, entertaining, and making hundreds of new friends in the Texas bluebonnet trail hill country. He also did something many of us say we would die for. A Hole-in-One. He had FOUR! He was a lay leader in the Rolling Hills Church, and Emaus guide, the church treasurer, choir member, and a friend to all who knew him.
Gerald was preceded in death by his parents, A. Ray and Mary Gonder Clause; and infant son, Christopher; and sister, Marietta (Galen) Weber. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jean; sons, Tom (Molly) of Winterset, IA, Jeff (Liezl) of Knysna, South Africa; daughter, Andrea (Peter) Rhoades of Marinette, Wisconsin; brothers, Roger (Dorothy) Clause and Robert (Dena) Clause of Grand Junction, IA; sisters, Margene (Armen) Miller of Jefferson and Portland, Oregon, and Elizabeth (Eldon) Schroeder of Sioux City, IA; eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Published by the Des Moines Register on Aug. 23, 2012.


Greene Obituaries maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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