Eight Bells: James Klauser

Published on March 20th, 2022

James R. Klauser, 83, a longtime member of Pewaukee Yacht Club, passed away on March 15, 2022.

Jim was senior vice president at Wisconsin Energy Corp., retiring in April 2007. Prior to joining Wisconsin Energy Corp., he was senior partner with the law firm of Dewitt Ross and Stevens. Jim served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration from 1986-1996 under Governor Tommy Thompson. He was special counsel to the Governor from 1994 to 1996.

“Those who knew Jim best knew that besides all he contributed to his personal and professional life, his true passion was sailing,” said Thompson. “Like the life he lived, he could navigate through serene seas and strong winds with equal ease, seemingly bending the will of nature around his purpose.”

Jim was a great supporter of sailing, the Pewaukee Yacht Club, and Pewaukee Lake Sailing School. He was the driving force behind the formation of the National Class E Scow Association and all the necessary state and federal filings, was a charter member of the National Class A Scow Association, and was one of the three founders of the E Blue Chip. He was a contributor to Bilge Pullers and volunteered significant time and expertise to the ILYA including their 501(c)(3) filings.

Jim served on numerous boards, commissions and committees. He was a consultant from 1992 to 1996 for the republican national Committee and republican Governors Association. He served as general chairman of the Thompson for Governor Committee. He also served as co-chairman of the Bush for president-Wisconsin committee in 2000 and as Chairman in 2004.

Jim is a member of the board of regents of the Milwaukee school of Engineering and a member of the board of trustees at Carthage College. Jim received a B.S. in 1961, a J.D. in 1964 and a M.A. in public law in 1968, all from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Among his many awards for achievement and service, Jim was presented the Bundesverdienstkreuz (the German Service Cross, 1st Class or knight’s Cross) in April 2001, recognizing his personal service in relation to the reconstruction of Germany. It is the highest recognition that the Federal Republic of Germany confers.

He is survived by wife, Shirley, two children, David “D.J.” and James W. “Jamie”, and two grandchildren, Katherine and David.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Charles Catholic Church, 313 Circle Drive, Hartland on March 26 at 2:30 PM. Visitation for family and friends at the Harder Funeral Home on March 25 at 4:00-7:00 PM with continued visitation at St. Charles Catholic Church, on March 26 from 1:00 PM until the time of Mass. Committal at Graceland Cemetery, Milwaukee. Memorials are appreciated to St. Charles Catholic Church or Pewaukee Lake Sailing School.

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