Landmarks 01

Richard M. Clawson

March 20, 1965 ~ January 15, 2020 (age 54)


Richard M. Clawson passed away Wednesday, January 15, 2020 doing what he did best, assisting others. He was pulled over in his Hy-Vee Semi to assist another trucker.

Richard M. Clawson was born March 20, 1965 in Santa Clara, California to Donald and Roberta Clawson. He was the youngest of 6 children.  Rich was united in marriage to Tonya Renee Ballanger on July 13, 1996 at the Flamingo Garden Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It was a beautiful weekend surrounded by many friends and family. 

To this union two children were born. Mariah Elizabeth Clawson arrived on June 2, 1997 and Myles Edward Clawson came into the World on March 3, 2003. Rich’s children were the center of his life!

Rich received his high school diploma at Kennedy High School, Fremont, California, and went on to receive his A.A. and play baseball at Ohlone College in the Bay Area. He started his career with Novell computers, flying to all the major cities, setting up trade shows.  When moving to Centerville, Iowa, he worked nights at Rubbermaid and attended school at IHCC. His dream was to become a teacher and a coach.  It became more important to Rich after the birth of Mariah, to be a good provider and he started working at Hy-Vee in Chariton.  Rich loved his semi. He told us that going to work in that truck was his vacation from life. He would listen to books on tape, visit with his California family, and talk for endless hours to Carter Heitmeyer and Tom Rogers to stay awake. The Chariton Hy-Vee colleagues were his “other” family.  He was that” friendly smile in every aisle”. ���

Rich grew up with 3 brothers, Brad Clawson, Robert Clawson, and Kevin Clawson and two beautiful sisters, Lori Clawson Makow and Debbie Bowers.  The Clawson boys have a passion for sports. They love baseball, basketball and football, and spent many hours playing it and watching it.  Their mom Roberta, would drive her Volkswagon van and spend the day delivering and picking them all up from all their events.  Rich always talked about how his oldest brother Brad was always in the stands for every sporting event he played in.  Rich was voted the BEST ATHLETE of the Bay Area when he was 12 years old, and we still have the trophy on display. ���� He sold peanuts in the San Francisco sports stadiums. He was “fired” while on the job, because he was caught sitting in the front row watching the game.  He loved ALL of his family so unconditionally and every time we went home, he worked on getting everyone together for family reunions. He spent many days talking about all the great memories of Clawson get togethers at the Rod and Gun.  Brad has 3 beautiful daughters, Ashley, Brittney, and Stephany. Rich would go “steal” them for the weekend when their parents were at work, and we would camp in the backyard, go hiking, get ice cream and walk around the lake in Fremont. He also absolutely adored his sister Debbie’s children Sharina and David Jr. as well as Melissa and Michael, Roberts children. As soon as we landed, Rich would be making plans to take them to the water parks, on walks, to the beach, and out to eat.

Rich and Tonya moved back to Iowa in December of 1995.  This was a culture shock for Rich. Tonya and family, can share many funny stories of him learning to drive in snow, mow yards, and getting used to the lifestyle. His favorite thing about moving back was Grandma Judy’s cooking!  Rich quickly drove all around, and found a perfect spot for slow pitch softball and started a league. We would drive to Bloomfield for basketball, and his love and passion for sports continued.  As soon as Rich had children, he couldn’t wait to teach and play sports with them. He coached Mariah for a time, but came home one night and said, “My Mariah doesn’t like her daddy to be her coach. She wants Roses and Rainbows from me.  For the next 20 years, that is what he gave her”. Mariah played softball, gymnastics with Kathy Cochran, and her favorite passion, dancing. Rich would say he loved to see her dance in the living room.  Both kids were taken to the YMCA every morning from the day they were born. The “ladies” swim class would gasp as he threw his 1- year old babies in the deep end, and they would dog paddle back to the side of the pool.  Myles was born with a ball in his hand. We stopped buying other toys because all he wanted were balls. Rich dedicated his entire life to playing and coaching his son.  He never raised his voice, always patient and kind. He wanted Myles to love the game and have fun as much as he did.

Rich always wanted a big family and he got it.  He grew to love his children’s friends, and spent countless hours entertaining and coaching all of them that wanted to play.  His dream was always to design his backyard, so it was always full of kids and he finally completed early last Spring.  He put in a basketball court, firepit, pool, and covered porch and said, “the best days are those spent with the youth.” You would never hear him say a bad word about a child. One funny memory at a basketball tournament is his team was losing very badly, but they were having fun. One parent became very frustrated and angry and was yelling things.  Rich said, “I have 5 kids on the team with attention issues, and 2 that can’t play basketball, and you want us to win?”  The kids always had a great time no matter the outcome. Rich loved the Appanoose County YMCA. His dream was always to raise the money to build a larger gym for the YMCA and the High School to share. He would talk about it endlessly. 

Rich was a man of great faith and he LOVED the Lord.  Anthony Martin refinished a beautiful antique wooden chair and Rich used it every morning for his prayer and meditation. No matter how tired he was on Sunday morning, he wanted his family to attend church, and he always told his children that although he loved us all so much, he loved the Lord FIRST.  He sent Mariah to St. Mary’s Catholic School. He said, I can teach her to read and write, but I need help putting her on the journey with the Lord. Myles attended pre-kindergarten and daycare there also.  Rich could not wait to go to Heaven, and as he said, live in paradise.  The Lord wrapped his arms around him on January 15th and took him home.  His work here was done, and now he will continue his journey from above.

Rich is survived by his wife Tonya Clawson, Mariah Clawson(Treye Rinehart), Myles Clawson, Clarence and Judy Ballanger, Terissa and Doug Hansen(Alex, Emily, Allyson), Tony and Meshara Ballanger (Cole and Clara), Josh Spencer, Brad Clawson(Ashley, Brittany, Stephany), Debbie and Dave Bowers(Sharina, Ken, Gabe, Melodia and Dave Jr.), Lori and Ariel Makow, Robert Clawson (Melissa, Michael, Scarlett), Kevin Clawson, Frank and Jayne Ramos (Steve, Bruce, Alicia and John Esmeyer), Claudia Galyen (Doug & Terry Galyen and children, Mike and Medie), Cousins Ron and Pam, and Ed and Debbie Clawson, and many, many teens that he considered his own.  He had some very special friends, Anthony Martin and Carter Heitmeyer.  His fur babies, Marely, Lynyrd and Kiki. Rich loved unconditionally and without judgment to anyone.

Rich is proceeded in death by his wonderful parents Donald and Roberta Clawson.  He spent many hours with his dad remodeling Rich’s home, and he was the apple of Roberta’s eye. She loved her Richard. Also proceeding him in death are his grandparents, Edward (Pappy) and Mila Annette Matteson, Grandma Juel and Claude Clawson, Uncle Jack Clawson, and Uncle John Galyen and Auntie Mila Ann. Rich took a sabbatical from work at Novell computers to care for his Pappy until his passing. He tried to model his life after him. Pappy was a humble man of devout faith. 

Rich was the closest thing to God that his wife and children had on this Earth.  He loved and worked endless hours to pay it forward.  “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”.  Philippians 4:13

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10 AM, Saturday, January 25, 2020 at the Simon Estes Auditorium, Centerville High School (600 C.H.S. Drive, Centerville, Iowa, 52544), with Rev. Dianne Christopher and Pastor Tommy Wilkins officiating.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to Tonya Clawson, for the children's future education, and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa, 52544.  Condolences may be shared online at  In honor of Rich's love of sports, please wear your favorite sports gear to the service.   

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Celebration of Life
January 25, 2020

10:00 AM
Simon Estes Auditorium
600 C.H.S. Drive
Centerville, IA 52544

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