Jack D. Clawson

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Jack D. Clawson, 75, Leawood, Kan., passed away on Thursday, March 23, 2006.

He was president and owner of Digital Electronic Machines, Inc., manufacturer of computer peripheral equipment, a company he founded in 1963, in Kansas City, and continued to operate until his illness made it no longer feasible.

Jack was born July 5, 1930, in Newton, Kan., to Lorraine B. Guinn Clawson and C. Herbert Clawson. His mother died in 2000 and his father in 1962. He attended schools in Tulsa, Okla., Newton and Mission, Kan., where his family moved in 1943. He graduated in 1948 from Shawnee Mission Rural High School.

Jack enlisted in the U.S. Air Force for four years where he learned electronics and became an instructor. Upon his discharge from the service, he entered the University of Kansas School of Engineering where he increased his knowledge of electrical engineering.

He married the former Lynne Gage Logan of Nevada, Mo., on Dec. 17, 1955, in Nevada, when both were KU students. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity.

Jack started his career as an electrical engineer with Western Electric in Winston-Salem, N.C., and El Paso, Texas, later joining the Chrysler Corp. Missile Division in Michigan and Huntsville, Ala. In December 1959, a large group of Chrysler employees and their families departed for Taranto, Italy, where they worked with Italian engineers under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force to build missile sites in southern Italy. Later Clawson was assigned to Izmir, Turkey, where Lynne and Jack and their Italian adopted son Steven Anthony Clawson lived for several months before returning to Kansas City in November 1961.

Two years later he began DEMEX with a large contract to supply automated jet engine test cells for Trans World Airlines. He subsequently developed improved data transmission capabilities based on card readers, his companies proprietary design. Over the years, Jack did all the electronic and hardware design work for his products. In 2000, he developed new computer programming techniques and designed the company's computer peripheral equipment with color monitors, finding great satisfaction with new challenges.

A pilot, Jack owned a twin-engine Aerostar and enjoyed flying for many years. An entrepreneur, he started Missouri Airlines, Inc., in 1973, during a T.W.A. strike. The airline was an intrastate carrier between the old Kansas City Municipal Air Terminal and Lambert Field in St. Louis.

He later farmed with partner Charles Garney on large acreage near Butler, Mo., which gave him and others an idea to use corn to make Gasohol. He also owned a dance club in Shawnee providing a place for the 18-21 year olds to socialize. He was a man of many original ideas with not enough time to implement them all.

From 1975-'77, he was board chairman of the Johnson County YMCA and member of the metropolitan board. He was active in this organization from 1970-'80. Jack was a member of the Village Presbyterian Church. He was a volunteer coach for several of his son's sports teams for many years. In 1986, he and others in the neighborhood were instrumental in keeping open the Indian Hills Junior High School when the Shawnee Mission school board had announced plans to close the school.

An avid sports fan, Jack held season tickets for many years to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. In an effort to promote good public relations in the 1970's, the KC Chiefs formed a basketball team in which Jack flew the team to other cities. Jack also enjoyed fishing and the outdoors on his father-in-law's ranch in St. Clair County, Mo.

In addition to his wife Lynne of the home, Jack is survived by his son Steven A. Clawson, Louisburg, Kan.; brother R.M. "Bob" Clawson, Montgomery, Texas; Carol Clawson, Austin, Texas; niece Susan Hennahane and husband Jim and their three children, Leawood, Kan.; nephew Mark Clawson and wife Laura and their three children, Houston, Texas; nephew Jeff Clawson, Julie Clawson, and their three children, Montgomery; three first cousins in Canada and California, and sister-in-law Donna Grace Logan, Greeley, Colo.

Services will be held at McGilley and Hoge Funeral Home, located at 8024 Santa Fe Dr., Overland Park at 3 p.m., on Monday, March 27. Graveside services will be at the Newton Burial Park in Nevada, at 2 p.m., on Tuesday, March 28. The family suggests contributions to the Midwest Transplant Foundation, 1900 W. 47th Place, Suite 400, Westwood, KS 66205.

Arrangements are under McGilley & Hoge Chapel.