I don't have the kind of memories I'm sure most people have of their grandpas but mine are special in their own way. My grandpa wasn't the type to hide candy in his pockets or smother with hugs and kisses but was a true example, always teaching something. He was a do-er. Always moving. Even when visiting my home growing up he was the first one awake every morning and usually outside as the sun was coming up, pruning trees or pulling weeds. instead of telling jokes at the dinner table he would quiz us on capitols of the world or tell us where our names originated from. He was very interested in our accomplishments and would often send us articles from the ensign or a newspaper about something important that reminded him of one of us or an article to "hint" at a way to better ourselves. He sometimes "red penned" letters we sent him to correct grammatical errors or misspelled words. Although it sounds annoying I think we all appreciated the time he took to teach us. My grandpa was a doctor, a neurosurgeon, and spent quite a bit of time over seas after his retirement helping to organize hospitals and perform surgeries. My sisters Oakley and Summer were able to accompany him on one trip to Ethiopia and see him in action. My grandpa was extremely healthy his whole life. I can remember hiking Mount Timpanogos, a two day hike, with him and some cousins when I was younger. He loved being outside. He started running marathons in his sixties! He only outlived his dad by barely a year which was a shock to us all. His dad lived just shy of his 109th birthday. The saddest part of grandpa's death was that I think he thought he had years left and the cancer took him incredibly fast. I wasn't with him through the last days of his life but from what I understand, he was happy and even though in pain, an incredibly good sport. We will all miss him deeply.
Grandpa we love you and can't wait to see you again someday.
Below I've included his obituary;
John Russell Clark of St. George, Utah, passed away on June 8, 2010, of pancreatic cancer. An avid marathon runner since the age of 61, John was known to many as a very health-conscious physician. When his own father passed away nine months ago at nearly 109 years of age, many agreed that John would be another centenarian and possibly even outlive Russell B. Clark. "Clarks don't get cancer," he had told his family in recent years, having conducted a study of his genealogy in 1981 which revealed that his progenitors had mostly died of old age, strokes, and bicycle or car accidents.
John was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 19, 1933, to Russell B. and Ruby Dorius Clark. John learned the meaning of "work" at an early age, spending his summers on the family farm in Georgetown, Idaho. His early interest in medicine was encouraged while working alongside his father, a well-established physician in Chicago. The family moved to southern California during John's high school years. He later attended Stanford University where he met his wife, Antoinette Evans. They were married April 18, 1957 in the Salt Lake Temple, then moved to Philadelphia so he could complete his studies at Hahnemann Medical School in 1959. Their six children were born in Philadelphia, Hawaii, Salt Lake City, and Long Beach before John set up his neurosurgical practice in Chico, California, in 1969. The family remained in Chico for 25 years, where John's professional and community service included the Boy Scouts of America, the Butte-Glenn County Medical Society, and the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons, among others. Politically active in the community, John spear-headed numerous fundraisers and campaigns from their vibrant home, and an open-door policy brought in many foster children over the years.
John had obtained his pilot's license and enjoyed flying with his family, as well as water-skiing, snow-skiing, and mountain-climbing. More than reaching the top himself, John's greatest thrill was to tow others using a rope tied around his waist. He often told his grandchildren, "Someday you will do the same for me."
In 1991, John was called into active military duty during Desert Storm, and his service in Dubai and Kuwait meant leaving his thriving medical practice in Chico. Upon his return, John and Antoinette began their transition to Utah, but retirement brought no slowing of his pace. At age 61, he began running two marathons each year, totaling 24 marathons by his final age of 76.
John was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of his life, serving in various capacities. Favorite callings included scoutmaster and bishop. He loved to meet new people, always showing his interest in others. He often championed the underdog, quietly doing good and building the lives of others. After retirement, John regularly traveled to Ethiopia as a volunteer humanitarian doctor, treating patients and training medical students at the University of Addis Ababa and the Black Lion Hospital. He has also served medical missions in Guatemala, Singapore, Tanzania, China and Bulgaria.
He is survived by his wife, Antoinette Evans Clark, and his children: April Clark Clive (Cliff); John Evans Clark (Kathleen); David Dorius Clark (Dodie); Sara Clark Madsen (Steve); Wendy Clark Ludlow (Brian); and Colleen Niau Clark Fear (Paul). He is also survived by 29 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Two sisters include Beverly Clark Johnson (Dale) and Barbara Clark Boies (Bob), and two brothers, Robert Brent Clark (Anne) and Stephen Craig Clark (Lindi).
Funeral services will be held Friday, June 18, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. in the Bloomington Third Ward chapel at 3519 Manzanita Road, St George, Utah. A viewing will be held beginning at 1:00 p.m. that afternoon. Interment will be in the Salt Lake City Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, located at 200 N Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.