Thursday, October 9, 2014

McAdoo Wilson Clouser (1918-1999)

McAdoo "Mike" Clouser, from the Kokomo Morning Times, February 10, 1965.

   A prominent public figure in Tipton County, Indiana for over three decades, McAdoo Wilson "Mike" Clouser represented that county in the Indiana General Assembly for one term in the mid-1960s. A past chairman of the Tipton County Democratic Committee, Clouser also served as part of the Indiana delegation to the 1984 Democratic National Convention held in San Francisco.
   One of thirteen children born to Albert (1889-1963) and Bertha Izora Terwiliger Clouser (1892-1951), McAdoo Wilson Clouser's birth occurred in Modoc, Indiana on May 25, 1918. The exact origin behind his unusual first name is unknown at this time but may be connected to William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941), an influential political figure who served as U.S. Treasury Secretary and U.S. Senator from California. McAdoo served as the treasury secretary under President Woodrow Wilson (who was Chief Executive when Mr. Clouser was born) and it may not be a foregone conclusion that Mr. Clouser received his first and middle names in honor of those two men. While his first name is certainly unusual, Clouser was known by "Mike" throughout his life.
   A student at both Butler University and the University of Indiana, Clouser married in 1939 to Wilma Maxine Heflin (1920-2008), with whom he would have six children: Diane, Barbara, Tom, Tim, Patricia, and Merrilee. A farmer in Tipton County for many years, Clouser operated a 220-acre farm and was also active in several civic organizations within that county, including the United Auto Workers Union #685, the Federal Land Bank Association, the Elwood Masonic Lodge and the Union 2882 of the C.I.O-A.F.L United Steelworkers
   In the early 1960s, Mike Clouser assumed the office of chief probation officer of Tipton County and was still the incumbent in that office when he received the nomination for joint representative from Tipton and Howard County to the Indiana General Assembly in 1964. Opposing Clouser in that year's election was Harold L. Scott Jr., a Kokomo based realtor. Clouser would win the election that November, gaining 2,244 votes in Howard County and "carried his home county by 585".

A Clouser campaign ad from the Tipton Tribune, October 30, 1964.

    Taking his seat at the start of 1965-67 session, Clouser sat on the house committees on  Education, the Judiciary (B) and the Organization of Courts and Criminal Code. Busy as a first-term legislator, Clouser was interviewed in the February 10, 1965 edition of the Kokomo Morning Times, which quoted this piece of advice from him: "If you keep active in civic affairs than the job of teaching your children to be good citizens becomes easy." Clouser further related in his Morning Times interview that one of the major pieces of legislation during that year's session was an attempt to repeal a then existing "right-to-work" law that had been passed by the Republican-controlled house back in 1957. By the time of Clouser's term in the legislature, the law had been so badly received that it was indeed repealed by the legislature, with Clouser noting that
"It was of course part of my party's (Democrat) platform and it made Indiana look more progressive than it has been in the last few years. Actually you might think my politics are a bit conservative; maybe more so than a lot of Republicans when it comes to spending money. I fight against bills occasionally in an attempt to save a dollar."
  In 1966 McAdoo Clouser launched his campaign for reelection to the house, running against Republican nominee Elwood Haynes Hillis (1926-     ). On election day it was Hillis who emerged victorious, besting Clouser in the vote count. He would go on to serve two terms in the legislature (1967-1971) and later won election to Congress in 1970, serving here for eight terms.

Clouser's reelection campaign notice from the Tipton Tribune, Nov. 1, 1966. 

   Following his defeat for reelection in 1966, Mike Clouser continued to be actively involved in Hoosier State politics. While employed by the Chrysler Corp. in Kokomo, Indiana he continued to serve as chairman of the Tipton County Democratic committee (having held the post since 1962) and in 1970 announced his candidacy for the Indiana state senate. In the election held in May of that year, he was defeated by Republican candidate Merton Stanley by a vote of 3,526 to 1,756.  Four years later Clouser filed for nomination as U.S. Representative for Indiana's Fifth Congressional district but was unsuccessful in his candidacy.
    In the latter period of his life, Clouser continued to farm and in 1982 retired from Chrysler. Two years following his retirement he served as a delegate from Indiana to the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco where Walter Mondale was nominated for the Presidency. After many years of public service to Tipton County McAdoo W. Clouser died on September 23, 1999 at age 81 at the St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Elwood, Indiana. He was survived by his children and his wife Maxine, who was interred alongside him at the New Lancaster Cemetery following her death in 2008.

Mike Clouser, from the April 22, 1970 Tipton Tribune.

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