Paul's Note - March 6, 2020

Photo courtesy John Yoakum

Back at the end of 2018, many of you may have read the story about Tucson Fire Fighters who helped a Pearl Harbor veteran after he fell from a ladder. The fire fighters returned a few hours later to help the veteran finish his yard work.

It was a great story that said a lot about our city’s fire fighters, but you may want to know more about the man they helped, Clarence Ellquist, who passed away last week.

Clarence and his twin brother Roger were born in 1922 in Ludsen, Minnesota. He enlisted in the Navy and was present in Pearl Harbor in 1941. In the closing years of the war, he married Virginia, who would remain his wife for 55 years.

After the war, instead of re-enlisiting in the Navy, he enlisted in the Army. In 1962, he retired as a Sergeant Major and, like many World War II vets, came to Tucson. He did work at Hughes Aircraft (now Ratheon) and as a civilian contractor at Davis-Monthan. He also did work as a handyman, a job he never retired from.

He had four daughters, including Claudia Ellquist. Claudia, an attorney, recently passed away but was a force in this community in her own right.

He earned the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Medal, which prompted a check of his records. They found that he was eligible for seven additional medals for his service. They were presented to him by Congressman Ron Barber.

My staff had the opportunity to help him out with some paperwork. When they visited the house, they found him doing work in his front yard with a pick. He was in his mid-nineties at the time.

He was a proud Swedish-American, but the one phrase he knew in Swedish was “tusen tack”: “many thousand thanks.” He said it a lot.

I’m proud that I could represent Clarence on the council and happy that my office could give him some help when he needed it. Thank you for your life and service, sir.

Tusen tack, Clarence.


The City of Tucson is in the process of developing a long range Mobility Master Plan that will guide our transportation investments over the next two decades branded, "Move Tucson: Delivering Mobility Choices."

Join us at the Move Tucson Phase II Launch to learn about the outcomes from the first phase, discuss transportation issues, and help improve our city's mobility. The launch will occur at the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center (101 W Irvington) next Wednesday, March 18.

Doors will open at 6 pm with a short presentation at 6:15 and at 7:15 with fluid open house style informational booths.

Look for Move Tucson information at community events like the Festival of Books and 4th Avenue Street Fair. If you’d like to have a presentation at your neighborhood association or community group, please contact my office.