William Clemens, 95, St. Cloud
November 20, 1920 - March 2, 2016
William Clemens was born November 20, 1920 in Fargo, North Dakota to Pierre William Clemens and Mary Edna (Cline) Clemens. He died March 2, 2016 at St. Benedict’s Center Senior Community in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
William graduated in 1938 from Sacred Heart Academy in Fargo and in 1938-40 attended St. John’s University in Collegeville. He served in the Navy from July 1943 to November, 1945. He was first stationed at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Quantico, Virginia and with the U.S. Military Government on Okinawa when discharged.
He married Virginia Weitzel May 29, 1943 in Quantico, Virginia. William founded Bankers Systems, Inc. in May, 1952. The company became the leading provider of products and services to the financial industry. William Clemens was Chairman of the Board when the company was sold upon Clemens’ retirement in December, 1994.
William was an usher at the Church of St. Augustine, served on the St. Cloud Diocese Finance Board and in later years assisted the St. Benedict’s Center Pastoral Care Dept.
William Clemens will be remembered not only for his business leadership but also for his generosity to the St. Cloud Community, the College of St. Benedict’s and St. John’s University. William and Virginia Clemens were the benefactors of several major gifts to the St. Cloud and Fargo area:
- In 1984 William and Virginia Clemens donated $1 million for an Economics Chair to St. John’s University. In 1996 an additional $1 million was donated to St. John’s University for the Clemens Football Stadium. In 2002 William Clemens donated $700,000 for the SJU SprinTurf at Clemens Stadium.
- In 1985 William and Virginia Clemens gifted the Diocese of St. Cloud with $1 million. The Diocese received a second $1 million gift in 1997.
- The College of St. Benedict received $1 million in 1986 and used the funds to build the Clemens Library. An additional $1 million gift was issued in 1996 to build the Clemens Field House.
- A $1 million gift was made to the Diocese of Fargo in 1993.
- Perhaps Clemens’ most colorful contribution to the St. Cloud community is the Clemens Gardens, including the Virginia Rose Garden, located on Kilian Boulevard in southeast St. Cloud. The Clemens Gardens are funded in part by a $2,000,000 endowment from Clemens to the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.
William is survived by his children, Barbara Watkins (Jerry Wayne), Las Vegas, Nevada, Mary Sue Potter (Durand), Naples, Florida, Robin Clemens, (Kevin Penttila) Newport, Washington; and John Clemens (Cindy), St. Cloud. Two grandchildren, Sean (Heidi) Potter and Denae (Mike) McDevitt and three great-grandchildren, Liam, Caden and Adelyn McDevitt also survive him.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia, brothers Pierre, Paul, Robert, Thomas, John and sisters, Helen Hilton, Ruth Ure, Mary Repikoff and Winnifred Boese.
The Clemens Family wishes to especially thank Mr. Clemens loyal and dedicated staff of over 40 years, Lois Gebhardt, Vicky Hagberg, Deanna Rosa and Tama Holtz who assisted and cared for Mr. and Mrs. Clemens throughout their lives. Thank you to Rachael Ackerman who assisted with Mr. Clemens care the last 2 years of his life.
Thank you to the staff of St. Benedict’s Center Senior Community for the extraordinary care given Mr. Clemens these past 10 months.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to: Clemens Gardens, St. Benedict Center Senior Community Chapel, Salvation Army or the Poor Clare Monastery.
Mass of Christian Burial will be announced at a later date.