EAGLE, Colorado "-Michael Claussner, 62, a longtime member of the Eagle Valley community, died suddenly in a snowmobiling accident Sunday.
Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1946, Mike earned his bachelor's degree at Michigan State University. He then joined the Peace Corps, serving in Sierra Leone. Mike continued his education, acquiring his master's degree from the University of Colorado and his doctorate in psychology from the University of Northern Colorado.
Mike came to the Vail Valley in 1987, becoming deeply involved in the community both professionally, providing counseling services through Colorado West Mental Health, J. Walker Lodge, 7 W Lodge, and his longtime private practice, enriching the lives of many.
His love of the mountains and memories of the lakeside cabin in Michigan during his childhood, and the time spent there with his parents, drew him to the former mining camp of Fulford where he built a log cabin. It was a labor of love constructed largely on his own. Last fall he started construction of a sauna adjacent to the cabin. He was a man who always had a project in the works, and they were usually sizable.
He married his wife. Ann Marie Sanders, another longtime and equally involved member of the community, in 1990. Their son Evan, who immediately became the center Mike's world, was born in 1992. This amazing threesome explored vast areas of the local backcountry as well as trips throughout the U.S. from California to Illinois and beyond to Africa and Central America. An avid birdwatcher, Mike was enthralled by variety he found on all their adventures, passing the fascination on to his wife and son.
Mike is survived by his beloved wife and partner, Ann Marie; his son, Evan; his father, Richard W. Claussner and his wife, Beverly; parents-in-law Herman and Ethel Sanders; sister-in-law Diane Sanders; brother-in-law Rob Sanders and his family; and too many friends to name. His mother, Loraine Claussner, preceded him in death.
Memorial services will be held in the Pirate Gym at Eagle Valley Middle School, 747 3rd Street in Eagle, on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Please bring any photos or stories you would like to share.
A reception for family and friends will be held afterward at the Brandes and Claussner residences, 350 Neilson Gulch Rd. and 417 Neilson Gulch Rd. Ann Marie has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Evan Claussner College Fund at Wells Fargo Bank on Broadway in Eagle. Donations also can be mailed to Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 567, Eagle, CO, 81631.