Class of 1942
Hall of Honor 2004
In 1943 Earl Claussen entered the U.S. Navy and served on the Aircraft Carrier Natoma Bay until 1945. In 1947 Earl joined his father and brothers in their successful contracting business, John Claussen Sons General Contractors. The youngest brother of four children, Earl was shortly named president of the company. With the exception of a brief stint supervising a contracting project in Ogallala, Earl and his wife Maxine (Finnie Walker) made their home in Grand Island.
Though he and Maxine did not have any children, Mr. Claussen did not shun civic duty and was an active member of his community. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Platt-Duetsche Society, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion Post #53, Liederkranz, BPOE Elks #604, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #378, United Commercial Travelers, Saddle Club, Central Nebraska Shrine Club, Masonic Lodge #318 of Grand Island, Scottish Rite of Hastings, Tehema Temple of Hastings, and the Association of the Men of Natoma Bay.
Mr. Claussen passed away in 1984, and by 1986, his legacy was beginning to take shape. Always civic-minded, Earl and Maxine had directed their attorney to set up a trust with the assets of their estate which would continue to give back to the community beyond their lifetimes. The Earl & Maxine Claussen Trust began with $780,000 from the estate. Since 1986, the Claussen Trust has given more than $700,000 in grants to numerous non-profit organizations in Grand Island and Hall County. Through this perpetual giving, Mr. Claussen has continued to build the community as he did physically during his life. Some of the projects and institutions that the Trust has awarded grants to are Stuhr Museum, Senior High’s Best Seats in the House Bleacher Campaign, Crane Meadows Nature Center, the YMCA, College Park, the City of Grand Island for purchase of park land, Grand Island Soccer Club for constructing soccer fields at Fonner Park, and the Edith Abbott Memorial Library for busts of the Abbott Sisters.