OBITUARY

Gwen Campbell Claussen

December 18, 1961April 11, 2018
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Dr. Gwen Claussen, a Neurologist who practiced for 30 years, died in a tragic car accident April 11 in Alexander City, Alabama. She was 56. Dr. Claussen was a dedicated, hardworking and deeply compassionate doctor, who was loved by her patients and everyone she met. She spent her first 26 years working at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center. She trained many young physicians while taking care of a large population of patients. While at UAB, Dr. Claussen established Alabama’s first Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) Multidisciplinary Clinic, bringing together several specialists under one roof to more effectively treat patients and study the deadly muscle-wasting disease. Dr. Claussen held the positions of Professor of Neurology, Director of ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic, Associate Director of Neuromuscular Pathology Laboratory, Associate Director of Neuromuscular Disease Laboratory, and Fellowship Director of Neuromuscular Medicine Program. In 2014, she joined Alabama Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Tuscaloosa, a practice where 5 of the 6 partners had been students or residents who Dr. Claussen helped to train. Dr. Claussen earned many awards and accolades through the years, but was most proud of the Argus Best Neurology Attending Teaching Awards presented by the residents at the end of each year. Gwen is the daughter of Charles L. Campbell and Barbara H. Campbell-Lucken. She grew up in several cities, including Columbia, MO, Holland, MI, Hong Kong and Deland, FL. She graduated as valedictorian from Deland High School in 1980. She then attended Salem College in Winston Salem, NC where she graduated as Valedictorian with a degree in Chemistry. Gwen entered Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest in 1984 and received her medical degree in 1988. While in medical school, Gwen was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha, a national medical honor society recognizing high educational achievement and honoring gifted teaching. Gwen married Tom Claussen on July 6, 1985 and raised two sons, Matthew and Michael. They spent 32 wonderful years together. More than just a scholar, Gwen had passions for gardening, hiking, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, skiing, wine and reading. She was also a travel enthusiast and planned several trips for the family. These included trips to Hawaii to swim at the beaches and watch the lava flows, a trip to Alaska where the family walked on glaciers, and a trip to Zion National Park in Utah to hike the canyon trails and visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. In 2015, for her 30th wedding anniversary, the family traveled to Italy where they took a wine tour, viewed several majestic churches and took in a professional European soccer match. Other trips included Banff & Jasper Canada, Cancun, Seattle, Napa Valley and many additional destinations. Gwen particularly enjoyed the family’s annual ski vacation in Colorado where the family would ski all day, enjoy the hot tub in the late afternoon and relax together in the evenings. Gwen loved to garden and had extensive gardens at her home in Birmingham as well as a Lake Martin residence. She had a particular fondness for Red Maple trees, with a recent count showing at least 25 Red Maples in her gardens. Gwen’s final days were spent at her home on Lake Martin, gardening, reading, drinking some wine and enjoying her beloved dogs, Rusty and Lily. She was happy. Gwen is survived by her husband, Tom Claussen; two sons, Michael of Hoover, AL; Matthew of Ocean Springs, MS (Taylor); her mother, Barbara Campbell-Lucken of Little Rock, AR (Lowell); brother Gregory Campbell, MD of Columbia, MO (Chrissie); sister Gail Stuart of Little Rock, AR (Chris); and her grandmother, Betty Hannah of Fayetteville, AR. Gwen is also survived by several cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. Visitation is Monday, April 16th from 6:00 – 8:00pm at Southern Heritage Funeral Home, 475 Cahaba Valley Road, Pelham, AL 35124. A celebration of Gwen’s life will be held Tuesday, April 17th at 12:00pm at the Riverchase Campus of Church of the Highlands, 9013 Helena Road, Pelham, AL 35124. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the ALS Association or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Services

  • Visitation Monday, April 16, 2018
  • Celebration of Gwen's Life Tuesday, April 17, 2018
REMEMBERING

Gwen Campbell Claussen

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Cheryl Goyne

April 24, 2018

Gwen and I became friends when we were same-year residents at UAB a lifetime ago. I regret to say that I didn't see her enough, but I did speak to her twice in the past few months and both times she proved to be just as cheerful and helpful as she was so many years ago. She was clearly a superior physician, but I knew her best as a mother and a friend. When I remember Gwen, I see the optimism in her smile and the acceptance of others in her eyes.
Tom, Matt, and Michael, you are a very strong family and will not only survive but will thrive, which is just as Gwen would have it!

Tomorra Harris

April 18, 2018

My mother and I just heard today that Dr. Claussen passed away. This hurt us deeply. She was a very kind person and a very good and efficient physician. I bought my mother to her last year after after she had an accident. She knew exactly what she needed and was always friendly and willing to help or answer any questions we had. Family is what is most important and that's why Dr. Claussen was so good at what she did. She became a part of our family. My condolences to Dr. Claussen's family and loved ones. I pray that God will give you peace of mind and the capacity to handle whatever issues you may encounter. Loosing a loved one is never easy. I lost my father 5 years ago. You can never replace the ones you love, but you do learn to heed their lessons and learn to apply them to your everyday life. May God keep you all and comfort you during this time.

Mohammad Alsharabati

April 18, 2018

Dr Claussen had a great positive impact on life of so many patients, medical students, residents, fellows and friends. I learned a lot from her as a trainee and colleague at UAB. All prayers to her and her family.

Will Meador

April 17, 2018

It was heartbreaking to learn that we all have lost such a great person and a terrific doctor in Gwen Claussen. She was so incredibly talented in her ability to care for patients and to teach students and residents. Her incredible patience, kindness and genuine interest in her patients' and pupils' well-being sometimes led to her clinic getting backed up when I worked with her - things could get frantic! But the moment she walked in the clinic room, all those other concerns disappeared and her focus was solely devoted to helping the person sitting across from her. Her ability to empathize with others, her loving treatment of all those around her, and all of her talented skills of teaching and clinical care are attributes that we all should strive towards everyday. Gwen Claussen definitely made the world a better place.

Shin Oh

April 17, 2018

Dr Shin J Oh, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Alabama at Birmingham, April 14, 2018

With the passing of Dr. Gwen Claussen, I lost my best Associate at UAB who helped me academically in establishing the UAB Neuromuscular Disease as one of the best in the world. Since her residency and fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology and Neuromuscular Disease, she had worked with me in the UAB Neuromuscular Diseases Division in patients’ care, teaching, and research for more than 20 years’ span. She was the best clinician who cared about the patients. She established the first ALS clinic in the State of Alabama at UAB and took care of the patients with compassion during their journey. She was at her best in teaching of clinical knowledge to medical students, residents, and fellows. Many former students, residents, and fellows owe their successful clinical and electrophysiological skills and acumens to her teachings. She helped me in every aspect of the clinical researches. We wrote thirty-four papers together, making her share of contribution to the research in neuromuscular diseases. I am going to miss her dearly but remember her as the best Associate at the UAB!!!

Sue Rachielles

April 17, 2018

Gwen was full of compassion, laughter and love. I was one of the nurses that worked with her at Kirklin Clinic. You always worked with Gwen. She never made you feel inferior to her. Even though we were. She glowed when she talked about her family. Cried when a patient died. She cried with me when I was diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. I know that I will see her again in Heaven. She will be by the lake making all the other angels laugh. Thank you for everything Gwen.

Paula Spath

April 17, 2018

Gwen and I had a very special friendship. She believed in me as a person and as a mom. We made a point to have lunch and talk about our lives and families. She was a great friend and a great person with a beautiful heart!
When I think of Gwen I hear her laugh, it was one of the best laughs I've ever heard, infectious would be a perfect description!
I have so many good memories of her and the person she was. I am grateful, and so very blessed to have known her!
I miss you Gwen and I love you my friend!
My condolences to Tom, Matthew, Michael, Taylor, and to everyone who knew and loved her, my heart goes out to you all.

Tanji Stephens

April 17, 2018

My condolences to the family. She was a wonderful person as well as a wonderful doctor. She touched a lot of lives in a very positive way. Gwen, you will truly be missed.

Gail Creekmore Sheppard

April 17, 2018

The BEST MOTHER ever...💙💙
Her LOVE is FOREVER!!!

John Riser

April 16, 2018

I have had the pleasure of knowing Gwen since 1992 on faculty at UAB. She always seem to have the perfect blend of academic curiosity and compassionate care especially for ALS patients. I have been grateful for her support of our ALS clinic in Birmingham for the past 2-3 years especially in providing second opinions. Patients were always appreciative of her expertise and genuine concern for their well being. If our clinic can provide 1/2 the care that she has provided to ALS patients over the years, then we will have truly provided a worthwhile service. She will be missed immensely and my condolences to the family.