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Lt. Col. Lawrence J. Clausen (USAF, Retired), passed away at a local hospital with his wife Sandy by his side on May 6, 2023.
Lt. Col. Clausen, the son of the late Major Lawrence A. Clausen (USAF) and Mary Rieger Clausen, was born December 28, 1944, in Toledo, Ohio. Due to his father’s relocations during his own Air Force career, Col. Clausen attended many different schools during elementary and high school and was always the new kid at school along with his siblings. He graduated high school from Newburg Free Academy (NFA) in Newburg, N.Y. While there for only one school year, Larry secured a position on NFA’s varsity football team, being one of a very few who played both offense and defense positions the entire game.
He joined the Catholic Church at a young age and was an Altar Boy.
Col. Clausen received his MEd and BS degree from the University of Maryland, B.U.S from the University of New Mexico, and an AA from both the Community College of the Air Force and the University of New Mexico. He was a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, an honor graduate of Special Ops., Combat Control School. Col. Clausen felt his greatest education was his career in the United States Air Force. He lived in many states, including New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and several countries, including England, Okinawa, Japan, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, Mali, Mauritania, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and others.
In 1962, Col. Clausen was sworn into the United States Air Force in New York, NY by his father, Major Lawrence A. Clausen, a World War II veteran. He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1974 in Special Ops, Combat Control.
While serving in Vietnam, as well as throughout his career, Col. Clausen was awarded many awards and honors. He received the Bronze Star of Valor and the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service during his time in Vietnam. His current wife, Sandy, only learned of his heroic actions when she found awards and medals meticulously tucked away in his belongings. He served his country proudly and honorably for over 34 and half years before retiring in 1997 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida.
Immediately after retiring, Col. Clausen began a second career as a government contractor for RD&A as a Program Manager and Sr. Requirement Analyst. This company later became known as Northrup Grumman. He worked for 10 years in South West Asia. In January 2007 while working in Qatar, he became very sick and was airlifted back to the United States. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. While recovering from chemotherapy and radiation treatments in Panama City, his wife of 33 years, Sandi K. Clausen, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died a short time later.
Following his recovery and the loss of his wife, Col. Clausen volunteered with Covenant Hospice of Panama City, hoping to assist others in the transition of dying. He bought a Boss Hoss motorcycle and joined the Patriot Guard Riders of Panama City.
In 2008, Col. Clausen met his present wife, Sandra Stokes Lowe Clausen of Macon, through a mutual friend. They traveled between Panama City and Macon for three years before they were married. They enjoyed many bike events in Panama City, Daytona Beach, The Boss Hoss Rally in Paris, TN, and even the big one, Sturgis. Nightly rides to Pier Park and a regular route on the Boss Hoss became routine and many pictures were taken by locals and tourists with the one-of-a kind motorcycle. Even the Harley guys admired the bike with the 57 Chevy body style and V-8 engine. The couple enjoyed traveling and made many trips to their favorite destinations, Hawaii and Graceland, and several western states to name a few, but of course, always home to Florida.
Col. Clausen was a master diver and certified teacher of scuba diving, teaching in Panama City. He was a life time member of the Air Commandos Association and the Combat Control Association.
He also enjoyed buying, customizing and selling boats and motorcycles. Larry and Sandy often rode the boats to Shell Island and spent time on the lanai watching other boats ride by, dolphins playing in the water and enjoying the most beautiful sunsets.
In 2012, Col. Clausen was diagnosed with end stage ILD (COPD) and was given a short time to live. This would be his final battle. True to his character, he continued to live life to its fullest and with determination and appreciation for the life that he was given. He and his wife continued to ride motorcycles and travel as often as possible until his life ended.
Col. Clausen is survived by his wife, Sandra (Sandy) Stokes Lowe Clausen of Kathleen, Ga. Sandy will forever cherish his memory and the time they had together. He will be missed by many extended family members and friends all over the country.
In addition to his parents, Col. Clausen was preceded in death by his wives, Bonnie Clausen; Sandi K. Clausen; his only child, Christina Clausen Girstman; and brothers, John Clausen, Terry Clausen, and Danny Clausen.
His wife, Sandy, extends her deepest appreciation to Dr. Mark Hendricks, Kimberly, and the staff at Pulmonary Associates of Macon, Dr. Robert Newman and his staff at The E.N.T. Center in Macon, the VA doctors and staff in Dublin and Warner Robins, Dr. Jefferson Trupp, Oncologist and staff in Panama City, Florida, Dr. Roman Nation and staff of Nations Best Family Health Care in Panama City, Florida.
Donations in honor of Lt. Col. Lawrence J. Clausen (USAF, Retired) may be made to Combat Control Association, P.O. Box 432, Mary Ester, Florida 32569.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. at Hart’s Chapel at the Cupola.
A private memorial service to honor his life will be held at a later date in Panama City, Florida.
Please visit www.hartsmort.com to express condolences.
Hart’s at the Cupola, Hart’s Mortuary and Cremation Center, 6324 Peake Rd, Macon, GA 31210 has charge of the arrangements.
Combat Control Association
P.O. Box 432, Mary Ester FL 32569