William Henry Clark, 89, beloved husband, father, grandfather and stepdad, died Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012.
Bill was born 11 miles north of Roosevelt on his dad's homestead on Aug. 14, 1923.
He attended school in Juniper Canyon and Roosevelt schools, where he graduated in 1941.
He started working at a young age to help the family through the depression years by milking cows, loading sacked wheat on barges, sack sewing in wheat harvest and working with the sheep shearing crew traveling through Idaho and Montana.
He and his brothers and sisters formed a very close family. The four "Clark boys" were all horseshoe pitchers and a noisy game was in hand when two or more of them got together, continuing until unable to throw the shoes.
At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy three months before Pearl Harbor. His five years Navy assignment was on the aircraft carrier Saratoga, which guarded the Asiatic Pacific area and later at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla. On the Sara, they encountered many skirmishes as well as being torpedoed twice by Japanese subs, very serious events for a Roosevelt farm boy.
In 1946 he married Illa Mae Sanders and had three children, Jacquelyn, Bill Jr. and Joseph.
Bill worked at the Dalles Flour Mill and then moved to Merrill, Ore. at a feed facility there, delivering feed to the Rogue River Valley.
In 1956 he purchased the Roosevelt Café and Store from his old friend, Bud Reader. He and his family were living in Arlington, Ore. and he used the ferry to come to work each day. While still operating the store he began a mail route to bring the mail from Pasco to Plymouth, Paterson, Roosevelt and Bickleton.
In 1968 after the water rose behind the John Day Dam and old Roosevelt was flooded and being relocated, he decided not to move or reopen the store. However, he continued the mail route for 30 years. At this time, to fill his days waiting for the mail to go back to Pasco, he took a job driving Roosevelt school bus and working at the school. He loved being around the kids and some of them have good memories of singing along with him on the bus ride home.
In 1984 he married Barbara Shinn McBride in Kaua'I, Hawaii and they made their home in Cleveland for 28 years. They traveled all over the USA as well as visiting some of his "Ports of Call" in Australia, Alaska, Europe and many return trips to Hawaii. With this marriage he inherited four more children and 15 grandchildren, each one a joy in his life.
Bill loved nature, the woods, the Seahawks, telling stories and singing along with the grandchildren. He always had his harmonica handy and was first one on the dance floor.
For 20 years, until unable to navigate the rough terrain, Bill placed the flags on veterans' graves in the five local cemeteries on Memorial Day. He felt it an honor, and usually gained assistance of the appropriate age grandchildren.
He will remain in our hearts forever, but is gone to meet his Savior.
He was a long-time member of the Alder Creek Pioneer Association, and in 2003 he served as president. He also was a charter member of the Eastern Klickitat County Historical Society and life member of the Alder Creek Pioneer Carousel Museum.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara of Bickleton; three children, Jacquelyn, Bill Jr. and Joseph Clark, all of Federal Way; four stepchildren, Melinda (Tom) Whitmore, Colleen (John) Jensen and Ben (Julie) McBride, all of Bickleton, and Karl (Nora) McBride of Alderdale; grandchildren, Kate (Chris) Watson, Bryan (Melissa) Whitmore, Erica and Tyler Jensen, Josh (Tia), Morgan, Amanda and Scott McBride, Zach, Kris, Tricia, Kylee Brianna McBride, Betty and Patrick Maeder; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Blanche Clark; brothers, Kenneth, Charles and Melvin; sisters, Helen Graves, Marjean Mains and baby sister, Frances; first wife, Illa Mae; as well as best friends, Jack Sanders and Myron Glass.
Memorial services will be held Friday, Nov. 2 2012, at 11 a.m. at Bickleton Evangelical Community Church in Bickleton.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rebekah Lodge of Bickleton, Alder Creek Pioneer Carousel Museum or a charity of your choice.
Those wishing to sign Bill's on-line memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com
Smith Funeral Home Ltd and Crematory in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.