The Rev. F. William “Bill” Clemenson passed away Aug. 27, 2015, at the Franklin United Methodist Community in Franklin after a long illness.
Bill was born in 1928 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, to Frederick and Myrtle Clemenson.
He married his beloved Jackie Du Jardin in 1950; she preceded him in death in June 2013.
Bill is survived by a son, Neal, and wife, Denise Flori, of Edmond, Oklahoma; a daughter, Janet, and husband, Phil, Connolly of Pearland, Texas; grandchildren, Rachel Hoak Watson and husband Douglas Watson, Aaron Clemenson, Laura Clemenson and husband Sean Rosales, Dillon Connolly, Emma Connolly, Andrew Clemenson and partner Leslie Edgerton, and Leah Clemenson; great-grandchildren, Douglas, Karen and Lily Watson; sisters-in-law, Judy Nelsen and Isy Du Jardin; niece, Eileen Du Jardin; nephew, Scott Du Jardin, and Scott’s wife, Anita Du Jardin.
Bill was preceded in death by a son, Mark, and daughter-in-law, Vicky, in 1994; a daughter, Karen, in 2007; and a brother-in-law, Vic Du Jardin, in 1992.
After graduating from high school in 1946, Bill attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He enjoyed a successful career as a commercial artist there until he experienced a calling to the ministry.
He went on to pursue his bachelor’s degree at Park College in Missouri, followed by his Master’s of Divinity degree at McCormick Seminary.
Bill was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1960 and served as pastor for churches in Pierceton, Hanover, Bloomington and Greensburg, all in Indiana. Toward the end of his career, Bill served as interim pastor for a number of churches going through the process of calling new pastors.
Throughout his career, Bill was a strong supporter of civil rights and social justice. As a young pastor he joined “Freedom Summer” in 1964 to assist in expanding voting rights to African-Americans in Mississippi. Later, he supported the effort within the Presbyterian Church at large to grant women the right to be ordained as pastors.
In his daily work, Bill was a steady source of support to his parishioners, through times of joy as well as times of sorrow. He was active on many committees at both local and Presbytery levels and had a special passion for mentoring early-career ministers.
In his leisure time, Bill enjoyed acting in community theater and playing Scrabble, especially with Jackie, who was his fierce competitor. Early in their marriage, they enjoyed camping road trips with their four young children. Later, they treasured family vacations at a cousin’s cottage on Lake Michigan, where Bill loved taking long walks on the beach and getting out on the open water in his cousin’s sailboat.
Bill and Jackie also thoroughly enjoyed the company of many close friends. A particularly memorable time for Bill was a trip to Scotland with dear friends, where he was able to stand at the pulpit of John Calvin, one of the early founders of the Presbyterian Church. Bill was a source of great inspiration to his family, friends and congregations throughout his long life; he will be missed by all.
The family would like to give special thanks to the staff at the Franklin United Methodist Community and Gentiva Hospice for the loving care they provided Bill and Jackie in their later years.
The Rev. Peter Jessen will conduct a memorial service at 3 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 100 E. Madison St. in Franklin, where both Bill and Jackie were active members.
Memorial gifts may be directed to Pastor Jessen at the church, where they will be used to support various good programs and missions.
Swartz Family Community Mortuary and Memorial Center in Franklin is handling arrangements.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at swartzmortuary.com.