Madison - Bob Clasen, born Feb 27, 1934, left his time on earth March 17, 2018. He was born to Albert and Ruth Clasen in South Milwaukee. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Joy (Chuck); a brother, Albert; and his brothers-in-law, David and Les. He is survived by his loving wife, Donna Rae; and devoted son, Douglas. He will be remembered by his brothers, Lee (Nancy) and Don (Susan); his sisters, Rae and Mary Ruth; his sister-in-law, Jean; along with family and friends from the University, the neighborhood and extensive world travel. He attained his Ph.D. from U.W. Madison and started his professional life teaching in the Milwaukee Schools. He later joined the Ford Foundation where he worked in Venezuela and Spain, serving as a consultant and framer of curriculum.
Bob was a visionary. He introduced Head Start Schools to Madison, believing in the impact they might have preparing children of more limited resources for future schooling. One of his beloved projects was College For Kids providing students early introductions to professors and college opportunities. Working with Professor Philip Lambert, they developed a program existing for over twenty-five years. With the help of a group of Dane County teachers and educators, Bob also helped create the Dane County Haiku Project to introduce fourth graders to Haiku poetry.
Bob was a musician, writer of music and poetry. As he liked to say, "I kept my
country free with my French Horn in the Army band in Tokyo, Japan." When asked if he would develop a youth choir for camp youth, his reaction was, "No, no. I've never even been in a choir." The Choir was a winner, and on a flatbed truck the group helped all celebrate holidays, and special events.
Bob impacted many students, colleagues and friends. He leaves a void that will affect all who knew and loved him.
A visitation will be held from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 23, 2018 at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison. A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at BETHEL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 312 Wisconsin Avenue, Madison, with Pastor John Swanson presiding. A visitation will also be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at church on Saturday. Burial will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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Bob - you were such a dear person and friend and will be truly missed. We always loved seeing you and Prez out walking. You have embedded so many good memories in all that knew you. Blessings are sent to all that will have to endure without you...
Donna and Doug - My deepest sympathy to you both. I just heard about Bob's death late this morning from Dan or I would have come to his service. He was such a loving caring person and it was such a privilege to have met all of you cousins of Anieta's. I hope to keep in touch with all of you and will see you soon. We learned this week Wed. that one of my favorite nephews, Paul Klinzing, 60 died of kidney failure. He was such a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. They should have had at least 20 more years together. His funeral is Wed. in Monroe, so it's been a sad time for our family. My loving regards to Moni, Dick and Pat. Bonnie
With deepest sympathy on the passing of Dr. Clasen....
Class of '86
Professor Clasen, as I knew him, was very instrumental in securing my opportunity to achieve my Masters Degree at the UW in 1980 in the field of Ed. Psych. He held my young son in his arms as I "walked" my papers to the proper authorities to process my final admission. I will never forget his compassion, his professionalism, his ability to counsel me in the process and his warm smile. I am certain he is resting now in the arms of our Lord.
Bob and I were a year apart as students at South Milwaukee High School. It was small enough to know many members of the other classes. And we both worked in related areas at UW-Madison. But we really got to know each other when the UW Madison Retirement Association was formed in 1999. Bob volunteered to put together a members' newsletter and he created the name for it, The Sifter. We had good times helping that Association get started and Bob was a fun and productive colleague.
Mr. Clasen always greeted me with the warmest smile in town, even during my high school shenanigans in the 80s. There was no better distraction from Moonlighting on ABC than Doug's Dad grinnin n pickin a rousing rendition of King of the Road. Oh my, that smile is everlasting and his toe tappin tunes will live on..
Dr. Clasen lived next door to my childhood home on Cherokee Drive, but he was much more than a next-door neighbor. He was a mentor who was always willing to teach. In addition to helping me throw and catch a football, shoot a basketball, hit a golf ball, and even duck from snowballs (he could pack and throw one mean snowball), he taught me patience, humility, wisdom, kindness, and above all, love. May he find a sunrise golf course in the Heavens.
Bob Clasen was and is a man of dignity, compassion, and wisdom. I vividly recall his support of my work on the psychology of forgiveness when our research lab began the first-ever research projects on this topic. Many academics were skeptical of the idea that forgiveness should be part of the social sciences. This was not the case for Dr. Clasen who showed courage and determination as he invited me to do workshops on the psychology of forgiveness for the general public. His support and encouragement will forever be a part of who I am. Thank you, Dr. Clasen. May you rest in peace.
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