We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Nieburg-Vitt, Thiebes Funeral Home
Emily Solem Clasby
On August 20, 2021, the strong, lively spirit of Emily Solem Clasby passed from this life. So many remember her for the fun and laughter she created wherever she went. She was the keeper of family lore and photos, and because of her we learned about Norwegian ancestors, the family home place near Duluth, the great northern Minnesota forest fire when she was an infant, and what it was like to cook for, do chores with, and celebrate holidays with sixteen siblings.
She was a wonderful mother and grandmother who inspired the love of reading in her children and grandchildren and who didn’t mind reading the same story over and over. She loved playing Yatzee, Blitz, and Kings in the Corner with them, taught them the Norwegian phrases Uff Da! (oh dear!) and Tack sa Mycket (thank you), and verbally sprinted ahead in pig Latin conversations with them. She could take on the role of Teela from He-Man, sing and recite songs and nursery rhymes, and teach them how to cook potato ball and fattigman (poor man cookies). She would laugh as she offered this farewell, “You be good now, and I’ll work on it!”
Emily was a scrimper and saver, an early recycler of cans, bottles, and foil, and she was a collector of spoons and menus. She was proud of the medals she won when she participated in the Senior Olympics, and she was active all her life even after a battle with cancer and after macular degeneration had robbed her of her sight. Every day she would grab her walker and count off laps around the deck outside the house.
Emily was born on March 14, 1923 to Mary and Adolph Solem. Her mother passed away when she was only three months old, but her father remarried and her loving stepmother Gladys helped raise her. She graduated from Clover Valley High School, went to business school, and took a job as a typist, but as World War II progressed, she felt called to enlist in the WAAC. For a time during the war, she worked in the Pentagon. She met James Clasby while they were both stationed at Bolling Field, and on August 20, 1947, they married. She left the service after that, and together she and James had three children while he continued to serve in the military. When James retired, they moved to a farm near Halfway, Missouri, and later bought a home in Bolivar. They were proud of their military service and were quite active for many years in the American Legion and the Auxiliary Post 138 in Bolivar.
Emily was preceded in death by her parents, fifteen siblings, a daughter-in-law Paula Clasby, and a son-in-law Jerry Agee. She is survived by a sister Karen Grusendorf; her children Mary Clasby-Agee, James (Sharon) Clasby, and Darrel Clasby; her grandchildren and step grandchildren, Kurt (Jen Koh) Clasby, Devin Clasby, Matt (Stephanie) Agee, Jordan (Almin) Sabotic, Lindsay Payne, Beth Worley, Steve (Xinia) Agee; nine great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews, and friends.
Because of the Covid resurgence, celebration of her life will be family only. Memorials may be made to Bright Focus Foundation for Macular Degeneration Research (supportbrightfocus.org) or a charity of your choice.