Samuel L. Claussen

May 11, 1948 - January 3, 2021
Sameuel Claussen

After a bravely fought battle with esophageal cancer, Samuel L Claussen (72) passed away on January 3, 2021 at 3:17 p.m., surrounded by his immediate family. He was born in Joplin, Missouri on May 11, 1948 to Jack and Betty Claussen.

Sam is survived by wife, Pamela Claussen, nee Lutes (57); daughter, Jessie Smith (39), and her husband, Ryan Smith (37); son, Joshua Claussen (38), and his partner, Stacy Heiskell (33); son, Brandon Claussen (24); grandchildren, Dylan Smith (6) and Kaylyn Smith (4); sister, Kathy Lowe (71); and brother, Mark Claussen (68).

Sam was a U.S. Navy Veteran, having served active duty in Vietnam and as a Reservist for a total of 29 years. RMC Claussen proudly earned the rank of Chief Petty Officer in September 1996. Sam gained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Missouri Southern State College in 1970, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Missouri Southern State College in 1974, and a Master of Fine Arts degree for Drama with an emphasis in lighting from the University of Virginia in 1977; he was a member of Alpha Psi Omega (National Theatre Honor Society). Always learning, Sam later completed multiple summer studies at the University of Oxford in England.

Sam’s career as an educator began in 1977 at Missouri Southern State University (“MSSU”), f/k/a Missouri Southern State College, in Joplin, Missouri as Technical Director and Professor; he taught at MSSU, as well as Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri, for a total of 43 years. MSSU granted him Professor Emeritus status post-retirement in November 2013. He was always a teacher, in or out of a classroom, and he continued to teach us every day, right up until the end.

A world traveler, Sam visited France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Canada, Ireland, and made several trips to the United Kingdom.

Sam worked on hundreds of stage productions at MSSU’s Theatre, Crowder College’s Theatre, Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre, Joplin Little Theatre, and directed multiple productions. A fount of knowledge, he was often consulted regarding the stage setups for many churches, high schools, and stadiums.

Sam was a charter member of the Show Me Celebration Company and was an active sponsor through his retirement; he served as Co-President of the Southwest Chapter of the Missouri Archeological Society for several years. Sam was considered a regional expert and source on Mayan studies.

Accomplishments aside, he was most proud of being a daddy and grandpa to his children and loved spending every moment with family. Sam served as a Boy Scoutmaster Assistant and Boy Scoutmaster for a total of 15 years; he proudly watched both sons earn the rank of Eagle Scout and achieved the honor of Order of the Arrow with his son, Brandon. Sam worked with the Missouri Destination Imagination program through Carl Junction Schools for 12 years.

He will be greatly missed.

Ya buddy!

Military funeral services are being held at Mount Hope Cemetery on Friday, January 15, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. Services are under the direction of Simpson Funeral Home in Webb City. Visit for online condolences.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the US Forest Service Plant-A-Tree Program or to the Cancer Research Institute in Sam’s name.