November 26, 1931 - July 17, 2019
Dr. Donald "Don" Lee Clark, 87, formerly of Bryan, passed away on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at Village Green Alzheimer's Care Home in Tomball, Texas. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, August 9, 2019, and a memorial service is set for 1:00 p.m., Saturday, August 10, 2019, both at First United Methodist Church, 506 E. 28th St., Bryan, TX 77803. Interment will be in Lake View Cemetery in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at a later date.
For nearly 50 years, Dr. Clark was a pillar in the Bryan community. A professor at Texas A&M University for nearly 30 years, Dr. Clark helped pioneer the Flags Across Bryan program with the Boy Scouts of America, served in numerous capacities at First United Methodist Church of Bryan for decades, was a trustee for the Wesley Foundation, and was a member of the Copperfield Homeowners Association for 17 years.
Dr. Clark's approach to life was perhaps best described in a quote he gave to The Eagle in 2007 after being honored by the Copperfield Homeowner's Association: "We just did what we do wherever we live- try to make our environment a more wholesome and pleasant place to live," he said at the time.
Dr. Clark was born on November 26, 1931, in Holyoke, Colo., to Hulbert Royal Clark and Ollie Gertrude Wolfe Clark. Dr. Clark later moved to Mosinee, Wis., and graduated from Mosinee High School in 1950. He worked first at Mosinee Builder's Supply and Mosinee Paper Mill before moving to Plainfield, Wis. and working as a farmer. Dr. Clark was a member of the Wisconsin National Guard from 1948-1954.
On August 5, 1951, Dr. Clark married Ethel Mae Kohlhepp in Eau Claire, Wis., and the couple spent almost 59 years together before she passed away in 2010. "More than any other thing, my parents taught us by example how to love our spouses," said Dr. Clark's son, Bob Clark. "Their care and support for each other ran deep. For almost sixty years they continued to hug and kiss each other hello and good-bye. Everyone always called them love birds, and they always were."
Dr. Clark enrolled at Stout State College (now University of Wisconsin – Stout) in Menomonie, Wis., in September 1957, earning a BS and MS in industrial education. He later earned his PhD in Industrial Education from The Ohio State University in 1967.
The Clarks settled in Bryan, Texas in 1967 with their sons, Richard "Dick" Clark and Robert "Bob" Clark when Dr. Clark began his career as an Associate Professor of Industrial Education at Texas A&M University. In 1969, Dr. Clark assisted in organizing and establishing Texas A&M's College of Education, now in its 50th year. He was promoted to a full professor in 1972. Before his retirement and transition to Professor Emeritus status in 1996, Dr. Clark mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, served as chair for more than 50 doctoral students, and secured numerous grants and contracts, as Associate Dean for Research for the College of Education from 1970-1983, through which new educational concepts were explored and support was provided for graduate students.
In his free time, Dr. Clark gave back to the community through Flags Across Bryan and First United Methodist Church of Bryan, as well as work for Habitat for Humanity, Elder Aid, and United Methodist Mission projects. Dr. Clark was also a master craftsman and could often be found building projects for family, friends, and community organizations, everything from small decorative pieces to theatrical sets.
"His idea of a vacation was to go to Wisconsin and work on the farm or visit his sons and help build a deck, finish a room, install a basketball goal, or any project we had set aside for him to assist us with," Bob Clark said. "During retirement he worked in his shop and participated in many church and community volunteer activities."
Having taught driver's education for a period of time, Dr. Clark enjoyed teaching his sons and some of his grandchildren how to drive. Over the course of his lifetime, he was proud to have driven in all 50 states, 48 of them in his own car. Dr. Clark also traveled internationally and often opened his home to foreign students at Texas A&M to welcome them and make them feel comfortable.
John Wesley once said, "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." There is not a better summation of who Don Clark was and what he did for so many.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Ethel Clark; and his son, Richard "Dick" Clark. Survivors include his son and daughters-in-law, Robert "Bob" and Teri Clark of Tomball, and Sharon Clark of College Station; Moris Cabezas and wife, Lori, of Clearwater, Fla.; a sister, Barbara Bavlnka of Canby, Ore.; grandchildren, Joshua Clark and wife, Amanda, of Tomball, Bryan Clark and wife, Leslie, of Naperville, Ill.; Marianne Gjerstad and husband, Garrett, of Lee's Summit, MO; Luis Cabezas and wife, Kelly Ogden, of Tampa, Fla., Andy Cabezas and wife, Carolina, of Orlando, Fla., and Melanie Cabezas, of Durham, N.C.; great-grandchildren, Elizabeth Clark of Gainesville, Fla., Jackson Clark, Caroline Clark, Josiah Hahn, and Harrison Clark of Naperville; River Cabezas and Daisy Cabezas of Tampa; and numerous nieces and nephews.
This tribute was written by Bryan Clark, grandson of Dr. Donald Clark.