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Vera Claussen, first woman to head APPA’s board, has died in a fire at her home in Washington state


From the January 16, 2008 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published January 16, 2008

 

 Vera Claussen - 175pixels
Claussen’s 47-year career in public power included 24 years as a commissioner of Grant County Public Utility District in Washington. She retired from the utility board in 2006.

Public power pioneer Vera Claussen died early Tuesday morning in a fire at her house inSoap Lake,Wash. Her 47-year career in public power included 24 years as a commissioner of Grant County, Wash., Public Utility District, from which she retired in 2006. In 1996, Claussen became the first woman and first policymaker to be elected president (now chairman) of APPA. In 1999, Alex Radin personally presented her with the association’s highest award, the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award.

“I had the privilege of serving with Vera on the boards of APPA and Energy Northwest,” APPA President and CEO Mark Crisson said. “She was a wonderful woman who worked tirelessly on behalf of her utility and her community. Vera defined what it means to be a great leader for public power.”

Claussen’s public power career began in 1959 when she joined the Northwest Public Power Association as research editor. She moved to the Washington Public Utility Districts Association in 1962, becoming assistant executive director before retiring from the association in 1979. In 1982, she ran for a seat on the Grant County PUD board and defeated the incumbent by a sizeable margin.

Claussen also served on the board of directors of Energy Northwest for 23 years, and on its executive board for 20 years.

In addition to the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award, Claussen received APPA’s Spence Vanderlinden Public Official Award in 1988 and its Harold Kramer-John Preston Personal Service Award in 1975.

“Vera’s commitment and dedication to public power and to the people she served was evident in her service to the utility,” said Grant County PUD General Manager Tim Culbertson. “She was a living legend and she will be truly missed by her friends at Grant PUD. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

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