May 4, 2012 in Obituaries

Obituary: Clute, John E.

Age 77

(Full-size photo)

John E.
1934 - 2012

John E. Clute died peace-fully in his sleep at his home in Phoenix, Arizona, in the early morning hours of May 1, 2012. John was born on October 28, 1934, the son of John L. and Elsie Clute. John grew up in Kooskia, Idaho, where he graduated valedictorian of his high school class at the age of 16. After high school he worked several years in the family grocery store before joining the U.S. Army. John saw military service in South Korea. After completing his military service John held several jobs while he worked his way through college. John received his B.S. degree in law from Gonzaga University in 1960 and his J.D. degree, Suma Cum Laude, from the Gonzaga University School of Law in 1963. Following his graduation from law school John served as a staff attorney for the Atomic Energy Commission in Richland, Washington. In 1965 he joined the legal department of Boise Cascade Corporation in Boise, Idaho. In 1968 John was named general counsel of Boise Cascade, a position he held for twenty-three years.
In 1991 John was appointed dean and professor of law at the Gonzaga University School of Law. His deanship was characterized by an abiding commitment to academic excellence, education of the entire person, diversity, and social justice. John’s decade long efforts as dean culminated in the 2000 dedication of a new law school building for the 21st Century built on the north bank of the Spokane River on Gonzaga University’s lower campus. John was awarded the DeSmet Medal, Gonzaga University’s highest honor in 2008. He will be awarded the Law Medal, Gonzaga University School of Law’s highest honor posthumously at the 2012 graduation ceremony.
Following his retirement from Gonzaga University in 2001, John divided his time between the family cabin in Kooskia, Idaho, and the State of Arizona where his children and grandchildren reside. John is survived his wife Nancy; his three daughters Jody Clute, Molly DeCastro, and Shelley East; and his three grandchildren Ryker Clute (age 19 months), Jaxyn DeCastro (age 2 years), and Rylee DeCastro (age 8 months). Services will be held on Saturday, June 9, 2012, at 11am at Saint Catherines Church in Kamiah, Idaho, followed by a reception at the family cabin in Kooskia. A remembrance event in Spokane will be scheduled for a later date. Tributes to John Clute for dissemination at the remembrance event can be emailed to Professor John Morey Maurice at In lieu of flowers the family requests that tax deductible contributions be made to either the Gonzaga University School of Law or the Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona, at

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