Sunday, March 22, 2015

Forsythe Charles Clowdsley (1895-1940)

From a February 1929 press photo.

   Despite his lack of years Stockton, California resident Forsythe Charles "Tod" Clowdsley left his mark in Sunshine State politics, being a four-term representative to the California State Assembly, as well as serving as San Joaquin County's District Attorney. The son of William Forsythe (1846-1917) and Virginia Olive Clowdsley (1852-1948), Forsythe C. Clowdsley was born in Stockton on February 6, 1895 and would attend the public schools of that city. 
   As a young man, Clowdsley entered into work on the staff of the Stockton Mail newspaper and continued in this employ until the dawn of American involvement in WWI. The American Legislative Leaders of the West denotes that Clowdsley "underwent two major surgeries to pass the physical examination" and after doing so was deployed to France as a Sergeant of Battery C, 143rd Field Artillery. He would remain here from 1917-1919 and following his return to Stockton resumed work with the Stockton Mail.
  Clowdsley married his first wife Helene Harpillard (a native of France) in 1920. Helene died in 1922 during childbirth and in 1933 Clowdsley remarried to Salina, Kansas native Suzanne Marie Humbarger, who would survive him upon his death in 1940. 
  Clowdsley first entered public life in San Joaquin County in 1921 when he was appointed as Assistant District Attorney. He would serve in that post for several years and in 1926 was elected as one of San Joaquin County's representatives to the California State Assembly. He would be elected to three further terms in the assembly and in the 1933-34 session served as Speaker Pro tem of the House, being noted as "the first Democratic speaker in California in 40 years."
  In November 1934 Clowdsley was elected as San Joaquin County District Attorney and was still the incumbent in that office when he died on September 25, 1940 of a heart attack. Just 45 years of age at the time of his passing, Clowdsley's burial location is unknown at this time but is presumed to be at the Stockton Rural Cemetery in Stockton, California. This cemetery is the resting place of both his first wife Helene (1900-1922) and his son, Forsythe Charles Jr. (1922-1929).