Two longtime members of the Missouri Southern faculty passed away during the holiday break.

Sam Claussen and Dr. Robert “Bob” Clark” each leave behind a legacy of passion for their craft and a lasting imprint on the students they taught, their respective departments, and audiences throughout the region.

Sam Claussen

Claussen, 72, passed away on Jan. 3, 2021.

Born in Joplin in 1948, he was a U.S. Navy veteran, serving in Vietnam and as a reservist for 29 years. He graduated from Missouri Southern with a degree in mathematics in 1970, and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1974, and later a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Virginia.

He joined the Missouri Southern faculty in 1977. After retiring in 2013, he was granted professor emeritus status and continued on as an adjunct instructor. Over the years, he worked on hundreds of productions at MSSU and other regional theaters.

“Sam was a consummate man of the theatre,” says Dr. Jim Lile, a theatre professor at Missouri Southern. “He was a director, a designer and – every now and then – an actor. But he was tireless as a lighting designer; he knew how that side of the discipline had an overall effect on the audience’s enjoyment (of a production).”

“He had a terrific collaborative spirit. When you worked together with someone with that kind of talent, you could really get something going. It was always a pleasure to work with Sam. He was one of the good guys.”

Funeral services are set for 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Webb City.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Clark

Clark, 82, passed away on Dec. 23.

Born on July 3, 1938, in Ogden, Utah, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, and also served in the U.S. Air Force.

Moving to Joplin in 1984, Clark joined the faculty at Missouri Southern, teaching broadcasting and communication. Along with the late Dr. Richard Massa, he was instrumental in launching the KGCS television and KXMS radio stations. He served as general manager for the radio station when it launched in 1985, offering classical/fine arts programming. He retired in 2008.

“(Former MSSU president) Dr. Leon charged Richard Massa and Bob with the legalities of getting the stations on the air,” said Bill Hunt, who recently retired as the director of creative services for KGCS. “He was really instrumental in the process.

“Bob was a very methodical man, and had his classes and routines down to a science. He did a great job of teaching students the basics of communication, including speech and writing, and knew a great deal about lighting. All around, he was a great guy.”