Northcrest Community

John "Jack" Cleasby

John "Jack" Cleasby

John L. “Jack” Cleasby, age 93, died on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at the Northcrest Health Center, Ames, Iowa.

Friends may call from 5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. on Friday, April 9, 2021 at the Adams Funeral Home. A private family memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at First Baptist Church in Ames. The service will be livestreamed and a link will be available on the Tribute Wall of Jack’s obituary on the Adams Funeral Home website. Burial will be held in the Ames Municipal Cemetery.

John L. Cleasby was born March 1, 1928 in Madison, Wisconsin to Clarence Allen and Othelia Amanda (Swanson) Cleasby. He graduated from East High School in Madison and served in the U.S. Navy in 1945 and 1946. He received his BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1950 and 1951, and his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University in Sanitary Engineering in 1960.

He was part of the civil engineering faculty at Iowa State University from 1954 until his retirement in 1994, serving as Instructor through Professor, and in 1983 was appointed Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering. He was major professor for 49 M.S. and 13 Ph.D. graduates. He was granted the Outstanding Teacher Award from the University in 1977 and the David R Boylan Eminent Faculty Award for Research in 1989. He served as Visiting Professor of Civil Engineering at University Colleg,e London for one year in 1975-1976.

He was active in several professional organizations and served as Division Officer in the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and as President of the Iowa Sections of those two organizations. He received 9 national awards from AWWA and ASCE for his research publications. He was elected Honorary Member of AWWA in 1986 and granted the Abel Wolman Award from AWWA in 1997. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1983.

He taught short courses on modern drinking water treatment practices in 9 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East for the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and for specific institutions. He consulted on water treatment problems in this country and internationally.

He married Donna Jean Haugh on September 2, 1950. Over the years, they enjoyed extensive domestic and international travel together, family events, sailing, dancing, and winter sports (in earlier years). After retirement, Jack resumed his golf hobby, developed an interest in computers, was an active member of Kiwanis Club and enjoyed weekly ping-pong games with his life-long friends residing at Northcrest.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Ames, sang in the choir, served multiple terms on the Trustee Board, with two terms as Treasurer totaling 16 years, and on other committees and boards. He was involved in community service, serving 9 years on the Board of Directors of Youth & Shelter Services, and as property manager for Story County Housing in its early years. He and Donna provided long time assistance to a Laotian refugee family sponsored by the church.

Survivors are son, Richard (Kathryn) Cleasby; daughter, Lynne (Brian) Miller; one brother, James; two sisters, Rita and Patricia. Also, grandsons: Sean (Christina) Miller, Craig & Troy Miller, Jeffrey (Tonya) Fitch, Christopher (Stephanie) Fitch; granddaughters: Nicole (Nathan) Maher and Danielle (Joshua) Priebe;15 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Donna (2019); parents, Clarence & Othelia Cleasby; his daughter, Teresa Ochiltree; a sister-in-law, Charlene Cleasby; and two brothers-in-law, James Honnold and Charles Cook.

Jack was a loving and devoted husband to his wife Donna. He welcomed and loved all people. He was a generous person giving of himself in all ways. He was so proud of his family. His Christian faith was so important to him and it reflected in how he lived his life and how he respected and treated his family, his students, faculty members and friends.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Adams Funeral Home and online condolences may be left for Jack’s family at www.adamssoderstrum.com. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Youth & Shelter Services in Ames or the First Baptist Church of Ames.  

Memorial contributions in honor of Jack may also be directed to the Northcrest Foundation, 1801 20th Street, Ames, Iowa 50010.

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