Death of James R. Clowser

James R. Clowser, 79, passed away Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at Hubbard Hospice House after a long, courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Born in Hillsboro on May 17, 1932, Jim attended Hillsboro High School, Greenbrier Military School and the University of Maryland. He returned to West Virginia to accept a position with the West Virginia Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. He was later appointed head of all vocational rehab centers in the state. He then went to the West Virginia Department of Mental Health where he supervised the agency’s Community Program Development division.

In 1970, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health by Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr., where he administered the state’s seven mental health hospitals, 13 community health centers and eight retardation centers.

In 1977, he founded Potomac House, Inc., which grew to five nursing homes and assisted care facilities in West Virginia and Virginia. It was ranked in 1981 in Inc. Magazine’s “Private 100” as one of the fastest growing enterprises in the United States. Upon selling Potomac House in 1994, he founded and served as president, until his passing, of Greenbrier Medical, Inc., and established the Greenbrier Birthing Center for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the first of its kind east of the Mississippi. The Mothers and Infants (MINT) program in Hillsboro has assisted 300 pregnant federal offenders making a transition from pregnancy to motherhood.

He served on numerous boards and commissions, including the U.S. Congressional Advisory Board on Health; the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association; the Association of Mental Health Administrators and American College of Health Care Administrators; and was recognized with a “Distinguished West Virginian” award. He was a 32nd Degree Mason; a member of the Charleston Mason Lodge 153; a past patron of the Order of the Eastern Star Tiskelwah Chapter 45; Scottish Rite Bodies; Beni Kedem Shrine Temple; and the American Legion. He was very active in Trinity United Methodist Church and served as chairman of the Stewardship, Finance, Trustees and Pastor Parish committees.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Gilbert and Bess Clowser; brothers, Keith and Robert; and sister, Colleen LaRue.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Shirley, who worked side by side with him in the company since 1977; son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Dale of Charleston; sister, Mabel Arvin of Marlinton; sister-in-law, JoAnn Clowser of Mooresville, N.C.; and nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, October 7, at Trinity United Methodist Church with the Rev. Barbara Bailey and Dr. Michael Kasongo officiating. Graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. at the Rosewood Cemetery in Lewisburg.

The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 6, at Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Trinity United Methodist Church, 2626 Pennsylvania Ave., Charleston, WV, 25302; Hubbard Hospice House, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. W., Charleston, WV 25312; or the CAMC Cancer Center Project at CAMC Foundation, 3412 Staunton Ave. SE, Charleston, WV 25304.

You may send your condolences to the family at

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.