About Midland Empire Insurance
Clem and Sylvia Lesueur were both originally from New Jersey and had been childhood sweethearts when they were 8 years old. Clem enlisted in the Marines in February of 1942, thinking that he would be fighting in France, as he spoke fluent French because his parents were French immigrants. Fatefully the Marine Corps’ mission was not in Europe, but in the Pacific, where Clem, at Guadalcanal was bitten by a mosquito and contracted malaria and Filariasis which developed into elephantiasis. This is a tropical disease in which a mosquito transfers the worm parasite to a person and the parasite blocks the lymphatic system causing the swelling of body parts. The Marines had a hospital in Klamath Falls, Oregon, because at 5,000 feet above sea level the parasite goes dormant, so Clem was transferred there on April 1, 1945 to recuperate. Clem fell in love with Klamath country and when he was mustered out of the Marine Corp in 1945, he made Klamath his home. Clem started many businesses from 1945 – 1950. Since he had joined the Marine Corps Reserve he was called back for the Korean War in 1950. During that time he proposed to Sylvia and they were married in 1951 after his discharge from the Marines a second time. Sylvia worked in banking and Clem worked in real estate sales until they purchased Midland Empire from Bill McKibbon. The agency grew and grew and in 1984 their son Lance and his wife, Bernice purchased the agency.
Clem and Sylvia’s son Lance was born in Klamath Valley Hospital in 1955. Klamath Falls was a booming timber town, a great time and place to grow up in. Lance was involved in scouting and achieved his Eagle Scout award in 1970. He played varsity basketball for the Klamath Union Pelicans under the great coach, Al Keck. Lance graduated from high school in 1973 and joined the United States Marine Corps, participating in the evacuation of Vietnam, (Operation Frequent Wind) and Cambodia (Operation Eagle Pull) and the Mayaguez incident. He was mustered out of the corps as a Sergeant in 1977. After attending one year at Oregon Institute of Technology, he transferred to the College of Insurance in New York City in 1978 and participated in their work/study program, working at Frank B. Hall, the third largest insurance brokerage house in the Wall Street office. Lance graduated from the College of Insurance in 1982 with a Bachelor of Business Administration.
While Lance was going to school and working in New York, he met and married Bernice Meehan. Bernice graduated from Rosemont College outside of Philadelphia, and was working at Hoffman-La Roche in the pharmaceutical division when she and Lance met. They were married in 1980.
In 1982 Lance, and his new bride Bernice came back home to Klamath Falls to work for Clem and Sylvia in the agency. In 1984 Lance and Bernice purchased the agency from Clem and Sylvia and with the help of great partners and employees, have grown the agency twelve times since the original 1984 purchase.
When not involved in the insurance world, Lance is very active in the community and church, scouting and with Hillah Shrine. He is also involved in scouting and with the Hillah Shrine. Lance loves to give back to Klamath because it has given so much to him.
In 2010 Midland Empire merged with Jeff Clark Insurance in Grants Pass, an agency that had been in the Clark family since 1920. The current owners, Jeff and Celia Clark are still actively involved in the agency and the merging of the two agencies has been beneficial for both.
Jeff & Celia Clark ran a great local agency in Grants Pass for over 40 years. In 2010 Midland Empire merged with the Clarks who have now transitioned into retirement. This has been a blessing for them because they now have more time to play with grandkids and explore the West Coast. Jeff and Celia Clark have left the agency in Midland Empire’s capable hands to ensure clients still receive the same great customer service that has been the Clarks motto for years: “Service is the Key.”
In 2016 Lawton Lesueur joined the family business and moved to Grants Pass. He has worked in the commercial side and has enjoyed the challenge and rewards and he appreciates all he has learned and continues to learn. Lawton graduated from Henley High School in 2006, joined the United States Marine Corps serving 4 years, and then went on to complete his Bachelors in Business Management from the University of Nevada in Reno.
Meet the Team
Klamath Falls, Oregon Office
Lance is the owner of Midland Empire Insurance. He has 38 years of experience from a major broker on Wall Street in New York City to the great agency on Main Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon.
He enjoys working for the Shriners Children’s Hospital and loves the great outdoors of the west.
Bernice is the co-owner of Midland Empire Insurance Agency. She has 35 years of experience in the insurance world.
Bernice is the Financial VP of Midland Empire Insurance.
Her interests include her children; Lawton, Ellen and Austin, camping, traveling and walking races. Bernice is also active in Soroptimist International of Klamath Falls and the International Association of Insurance Professionals.
Anita started her career in 1977 as a file clerk with a mid-size independent agency in Bend Oregon. She secured her P&C and health insurance license in 1978 and was promptly promoted to back-up the claims dept. as well as the personal lines dept. In the various moves within the State, she served as Personal Lines Manager in-addition to assisting as a back-up in commercial insurance. Anita then returned to Klamath County in 2002 and accepted a position with Midland Empire Insurance as a Commercial CSR.
Anita also likes fishing, camping, spending time with kids/grandkids & extended family. Any down-time (usually when traveling) she likes to knit.
Liz has lived in Klamath Falls her whole life. She has worked at Midland Empire for over 30 years. She and her husband Pete have 3 children, Jake, Joe and Teagen. Liz and her whole family are very involved in sports, especially baseball!
Liz enjoys watching football, basketball and baseball, but spending time with her family is her greatest joy!
Dawn has a wide variety of experience from Office to Retail to Teaching. She holds a degree in Network Administration.
Dawn now works for Midland Empire Insurance as an Insurance Processor. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in California, reading, and volunteering.
Austin graduated from Henley High School in 2009 and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was stationed in North Carolina, California, and did one tour to the Middle East on the USS Iwo Jima before exiting the Marine Corps in 2013 with the rank of Sergeant. After this, Austin moved to Bozeman, Montana, where he attended Montana State University on the GI Bill. When not in class, Austin preferred to spend his time hunting, fishing, and exploring. Upon graduating in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Business Management, Austin returned home to Klamath Falls to join his parents and brother in the family business.
Jenny has lived in Minnesota, Arizona and Oregon over the years, but now calls beautiful Oregon home since 1999. Jenny graduated from Cottage Grove High School in 2002. She started her Insurance career in 2005 as a receptionist for a small agency in Cottage Grove and within a year she was licensed in Life, Health, Property, and Casualty. Jenny now has over 10 years’ experience in the insurance industry working as an independent agent in Personal Lines, Commercial Lines and Benefits. In spring of 2017 Jenny moved to Klamath Falls with her husband Jesse who is attending Oregon Institute of Technology for Software Engineering. Jenny started at Midland Empire Insurance in January 2019 and is excited to be on the team helping clients with all their insurance needs. In her free time she enjoys camping, reading, spending time with her friends, family and their two cats Arloa and Hans.
Grants Pass, Oregon Office
Lawton is a 2006 graduate of Henley High School, Klamath Falls, OR. After graduation he fought fire for 2 summers with BLM Crew 7 out of Lakeview, OR while attending Linn-Benton Community College. In 2009 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a Military Policeman. His stations were: Okinawa, Japan; Helmand Province, Afghanistan; and Camp Pendleton, California.
After being Combat Meritoriously Promoted to Corporal in Afghanistan he was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in October, 2012. Using the GI Bill he received Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Nevada, Reno December 2015.
He started working for the family business in the Grants Pass office right after graduation from college.
Debbie was born and raised in Danville, California which is in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. She started her insurance career in the 80’s with a large brokerage as part of their personal lines department.
After raising two daughters Debbie and her husband moved to Oregon in 2005 and live in Grants Pass. When not working she enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as walking, reading, gardening and cooking.
August has lived in Grants Pass for the last 26 years. She is a North Valley Knight graduate. After High school she continued her education at Southern Oregon University, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Communication and Business Administration. Post college, she became a mother to a beautiful baby boy, who is her entire world. On her off time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, crafting and gardening.