Clayton Wangsness

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 2:54 pm

Clayton Wangsness, 75, of Decorah, died Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, at the Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Services were at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church in Dorchester, with Rev. Allen Hermeier and Rev. Waldemar Giesn officiating. Organist was Carolyn Storlie. Hymns were  “Beautiful Savior” (Luren), “Abide with Me,” “We Shall Walk There In The Valley In Peace” (Luren), “The Lord’s Prayer,” “Now Thank We All Our God” and “Aftensolen Smiler” (Luren). Arrangements were handled by Schluter – Balik Funeral Home, Decorah. Honorary casket bearers were Jim and Shirley Casterton; Duane and Shirley Groth; Dan Beane; George Cummins; Sabjörn Rogne; Mike Prohaska; and all of his former students.

Clayton Elvin Wangsness was born Nov. 22, 1940, in Cresco, the son of Elvin and Nina (Hjelle) Wangsness. He was baptized Dec. 8, 1940, at Calmar Lutheran Church and confirmed May 20, 1956, at the Highland Lutheran Church. Clayton attended rural country schools and graduated from Spring Grove High School in 1959. He was a member of the National Honor Society, chorus, band, track and football and was the homecoming king. He graduated from Iowa State University in Ames in 1964, majoring in Ag education. He returned home and farmed with his father and in the fall of 1965, he started the Voc Ag program at North Winneshiek School. He instructed Dwight Seegmiller who became the Iowa State and National FFA President. He also taught Peg Armstrong, who became the first female to become the Iowa State FFA president. Clayton was the state conservation teacher of the year in 1968. In 1970, he quit teaching to farm at home, which was too hard to do both at the same time. He was united in marriage to Harriet Jevne May 24, 1974 (they were introduced by Norma Wangsness at a Sons of Norway meeting). They had three children: Erik, Anne and Jon. He returned to North Winneshiek in the fall of 1984 and taught until June 2002. Clayton joined the Luren Singing Society at the age of 24, serving as secretary and president. He loved singing and the opportunity to travel to Norway in 1969. He received his Diamond Award in 2012 and later that year quit due to his tremors. Clayton served on the Winneshiek County Extension Council, County 4-H Committee, 4-H Farmer’s Home Administration Board, 4-H Adult Advisory Committee, County Soil Conservation Board and the United Way Fund Drive. Clayton was in the Minowa Players first production of “Little Mary Sunshine” in 1975. He was a charter member of the Sons of Norway, serving as secretary. Clayton was a former member of the Highland Lutheran Church and currently the Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church. Clayton and Harriet retired and moved into Decorah in 2013. He loved farming and always enjoyed going to the farm. He also loved music, reading, doing genealogy and playing scrabble. Although his greatest love was for his family and grandchildren.

Clayton is survived by his wife, Harriet Wangsness, Decorah; three children: Erik (Jenni) Wangsness, Decorah; Anne Wangsness (James Gentry), Kernersville, N.C.; and Jon (Tessia) Wangsness, Decorah; two grandchildren, Cael and Kaci Wangsness; two sisters, Sharon Drew, Decorah and Rev. Barbara Wangsness and her husband, Rev. Natanael Lizarazo, Austin, Texas; Clayton and Harriet’s “adoptive” children and nephews and nieces: Glen (Karla) Jevne, Waukon; Jim (Marsha) Jevne, Lawler; Brenda (Steve) Kappes, Cresco; Roger (JoDee) Jevne, Burr Oak; Pam Humpal, and Duane Hageman Ossian; nephews and nieces: Benjamin Kidd (Becca Andersen), Jennifer Kidd (Briggette Morris), Alicia Lizarazo (Rod Crosby), Jennifer (Brian) Sullivan, Melissa (Jason) Larson, Josh (Jenny) Jevne, and Zach (Shannon) Jevne, John Jevne; along with several great nieces and nephews.

Clayton was preceded in death by his parents, Elvin and Nina (Hjelle) Wangsness; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Emil and Hilda Jevne; four brothers-in-law: Kenneth Jevne, Robert Jevne, Richard Jevne and Patrick Drew.

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