Michael Richard Clauss died peacefully on April 13, 2014, in Napa, following a stroke.
Michael was born on July 30, 1948, to Harry Clauss Jr. and Priscilla (Hildebrandt) Clauss. Michael is survived by his wife, Shirley; his sister, Cheryl; step-daughter, Seana (Dean) Wagner; his grandsons Trey and Cale Wagner, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Michael was born and lived in Chicago, Ill., until his family relocated to California, settling in Sonoma in 1955. Michael graduated from Sonoma High School in 1966, and later graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College.
Michael had a life-long passion for singing and choral music. He was a charter member (1972) of the Sonoma Valley Chorale. In addition to serving as president of the community chorus and organizing logistics for 27 years, he also spiced up the men’s section with his beautiful baritone voice and quick wit. One of Michael’s greatest treasures was his fellow singers in the Sonoma Valley Chorale, he loved you all very much.
Michael met the love of his life in 1977 when Shirley joined the Sonoma Valley Chorale. After more than 25 years of friendship, the two developed a close bond that led to a memorable wedding ceremony on April 28, 2001. Of course, the SVC chamber serenaded Michael and Shirley down the aisle with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.”
Michael loved to travel, and he and Shirley enjoyed many trips together. Some of his most memorable excursions were singing tours with the Sonoma Valley Chorale in Europe, Great Britain, and New England, along with trips cruising to Alaska and through the Panama Canal.
Michael was a fan of baseball and was a part of the championship Sonoma Valley High School baseball team in 1966. He was inducted along with his teammates into the Sonoma Valley High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. As an adult, Michael spent many years playing in leagues throughout Sonoma and Napa counties.
A celebration of life will be held at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, 126 First St. W., Sonoma, CA on June 7, 2014, at 11 a.m. Donations in Michael’s honor can be made to the Sonoma Valley Chorale Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 816, Sonoma, CA 95476.