College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Remembering Clayton Christensen

Photo courtesy of Pilot Tribune.

Clayton L. Christensen died Jan. 15, 2018, at the age of 95 in Storm Lake, Iowa. Christensen was an alumnus and former professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) at Iowa State University.

Christensen was born on July 7, 1922, in Moorhead, Iowa, to Tenus and Meddie (Losh) Christensen. Christensen was preceded in death by his first wife Helen and his second wife Martha.

Before enlisting in the United States Air Force, where he was a second lieutenant during World War II, Christensen studied at Wayne State University. While in the military, he studied at Carleton College for meteorology, Yale University for communications and Harvard and MIT for mass electronics. After being honorably discharged in 1946, he continued his education at Iowa State, earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Christensen worked for IPS (now MidAmerican Energyfor 36 years. He began as a district and field engineer in LeMars and Storm Lake, Iowa, and eventually assumed the position of chief engineer and vice president of engineering at the Souix City Corporate Office.

After retiring from IPS in 1984, Christensen became an adjunct professor at Iowa State, where he was a leader who made a great impact with the Iowa Power affiliates (now the Electric Power Research Center) and organized electrical engineering extension-related short courses.

In 1985, Christensen returned to Storm Lake and remarried after the passing of his first wife. He served as the Storm Lake Rotary Club president and District Governor in 1970 and 1971. He lead groups of Rotarians to Japan and South Africa, hosted three Rotary exchange students in Storm Lake and Sioux City and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.

Christensen is survived by his three daughters, four step-daughters, 15 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Services were held on Jan. 19 at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Storm Lake.