Clayton H. Klakeg, M.D.
Clayton H. Klakeg, M.D., peacefully passed into heaven at age 96 following a brief illness. The firstborn and only son of Norwegian immigrants Knute and Agnes (Folvik) Klakeg, Clay was born March 31, 1920, on the family farm in Big Woods, Minnesota. He was reared in Fargo, North Dakota, but spent many summers on his grandparent’s farm, speaking only Norwegian and building a strong work ethic and love of animals. His intelligence, academic strengths, peaceful demeanor, and gentle temperament laid the foundation for him to become a bright, compassionate individual and doctor who cared deeply for others and the welfare of his patients.
Due to the lack of finances, Clay was not encouraged by his family to pursue his desire to become a doctor. Times were challenging during the Depression; yet he persisted, engaging in a variety of jobs and work experiences in the days when there were no scholarships. Known for often quoting, “Another day in which to excel”, Clay excelled in accomplishing his desire to achieve his medical degree and more.
His first two years of collegiate education began in 1938-1940 at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He transferred to North Dakota State University where he excelled by receiving his Bachelor of Science in 1942 and then his Bachelor of Science in Medicine the following year in 1943. Clay continued to excel and received his medical degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1945.
Clay’s medical internship was completed at the Medical Center in Jersey City. He then earned the rank of Captain while serving as a flight surgeon for the Army Air Corps from 1946-1948 during World War II. “Captain Clayton Klakeg” was a lot to say! Following his military service Clay joined the Veterans Administration Hospital staff in Fargo, North Dakota, from 1948-51.
Clay then joined the Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minnesota, and excelled as a Fellow in Medicine and Cardiology. While there he also completed his Master of Science degree in Medicine and Physiology at the University of Minnesota Mayo Foundation in 1954. Board certified in both internal medicine and cardiology, Clay was elected a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Chest Physicians.
In 1955 Clay was asked to join the Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, California, and he continued to practice there as an internist and cardiologist for over 37 years. Clay excelled in solving difficult diagnostic cases and never missed a day of work, retiring at age 72 after serving numerous organizations in various capacities in both supportive and leadership roles. Some of which included serving as President of the California Heart Association, President of the Santa Barbara County Heart Association, President of Sansum Clinic, President and Board member Emeritus of the Sansum Medical Research Foundation, President of Trinity Lutheran Church Council, and President of the American Scandinavian Foundation. Clay was also the recipient of many Meritorious Service, Distinguished Service, and Distinguished Achievement awards and maintained his medical licenses in California, North Dakota, and Minnesota well into his nineties.
He not only excelled professionally, but also as an individual. Clay’s faith, ethical standards, gentle demeanor, kindness, and generosity were evident to all who knew him. He was thankful to be able to live independently in his own home until his passing. So many things exemplified ‘Grandpa Clay’: his love of animals(especially cats), his garden and roses, See’s candy, morning newspaper comics, puzzles, long walks, plaid flannel shirts, homemade soups and other delicious dinners, drives through the countryside, and summer visits to his Minnesota cottage on Pelican Lake. He will be greatly missed by many, but he has left a legacy of special memories for those who knew and loved him.
Clay is survived by his children: Julie Klakeg Crandall, Robert(Jeanne) Klakeg, Richard(Dana) Klakeg; grandchildren: Carolyn(Robert) Crandall Jacob, David(Caressa) Crandall, Leslie(Shane) Klakeg Schroeder, Kevin(Carrie) Klakeg, Hannah Klakeg, Sydney Klakeg; great grandchildren: Layna, Nathaniel, Lydia, and Joel Clayton Jacob, Elliot Crandall, and baby boy Klakeg to arrive the end of this year. Clay was predeceased by his sister/husband Lois(Jim) Johnson and sister Joyce Lindvig, but survived by Andy Lindvig, nieces and nephews, and their children.
Clay was a tenor in the choir and faithful member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Barbara for over 50 years. All are welcome to attend a Memorial Celebration of Clay’s life on Saturday, October 22, 2016, at 11:30 AM at Trinity Lutheran Church with a reception to follow.