Michael DelRoy Clauson, 56, was born in Ethiopia on August 5, 1962, and died unexpectedly at his home in Newton, Kansas on about Monday, May 13, 2019.
Michael was adopted at about 6 months of age by a U.S. military family stationed in Ethiopia. His birth mother was Ethiopian, and his biological father Italian. The Clausons moved frequently while his father was active in the U.S. Army, living in Africa, Germany, Panama, Hawaii and several other military locations. Michael was 12 when his parents divorced in 1975 in Salina. Due to stresses in the family after the divorce, Mike was sent to St. Francis Boys’ Home in Ellsworth. He attended Salina High School South and later completed his GED.
Michael moved to Newton in about 2007 and lived for a time at the homeless shelter before moving to his apartment at the First National Bank building at 6th and Main, which is where he died. It seems possible his twelve-year tenure here was the longest he had ever lived in one place.
Mike tried valiantly and creatively to stabilize and rise above persistent challenges. He graduated from the first Getting Ahead Class for Harvey County Circles of Hope in 2009. He majored in psychology at Hutchinson Community College, graduating with an associate in arts degree in December 2013, at age 51. He loved animals and was interested in art, design and engineering, auto mechanics, music, psychology, philosophy, science (especially quantum physics) and culinary arts. He was an avid movie lover and gamer.
Mike persisted heroically in trying to find just the right job. You may know him from Caring Hands Humane Society, Casey’s General Store, Crust & Crumb, Design Central, Domino’s, E-Z Trip, Full Vision, Iron Horse, Lippert, Loewen Upholstery, McDonald’s, Mojo’s Coffee Bar, Newton Bicycle Shop, and Papa John’s, among other places of employment in the area.
Mike was preceded in death by his adoptive parents, Carol Mae Brune and Delroy Devon Clauson, and sister Natalie Carol Meade. He is survived by his loving foster dog Hoster and his sister Hilda Spence of Ohio. He leaves many caring hearts who knew him from living in the historic First National Bank Building where he was the longest-tenured resident, the official thermostat monitor, the guy to talk to if the landlord could not be reached, and the assistant snow-shoveler. Although he struggled to feel he belonged and mattered, he might be surprised to know how profoundly he touched us both in life and in his surprising departure.
His remains will be returned to nature at 10 a.m. Friday, June 28, at the Harvey County Memorial at Osage Nature Trail. Friends and neighbors are welcome to join the Community Chaplain Response Team in a brief ceremony.