Pastors' Memoirs

Ronald Smith Clark, 1925 – 2007

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The Rev. Ronald S. Clark, of Fairfax, Va., went Home on May 4, 2007. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 46 years, Doris Clark.

Born in Midland, Mich., on March 5, 1925, Ron moved to Loudon County in 1935 with his family to work several farms. He entered the U.S. Navy in 1943 where he attended signalman school in Jacksonville, Fla. He served with distinction during World War II aboard the USS Euryale and the USS Caswell. After the war, he finished high school under the G.I. Bill at McKinley Tech in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Shepherd College in 1952 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and served as Vice President of the Emeritus Club until only recently. While working on his master’s degree at Westminster Theological Seminary in Westminster, Md., he met and married Doris Jeanne Good of Fairfax, Va. Ron began his ministerial career in 1952 as a student pastor at the Sterling Charge. He went on to serve Pamplin, Montague Ave., Galilee in Sterling, Pembroke, Gordonsville, Chuckatuck and Browns Cove/Mt. Moriah. He retired in 1975. Returning to Fairfax, he and his son Mark owned and operated R.S. Clark & Son, a contracting business until 1991.

Ron led a vivid life, marking all those who met him with his caring for people, sense of justice and simple, unaffected love. He was a bold splash of color on our canvas, always serving in the only way he knew, and felt privileged to walk among God’s people.

He is survived by his children, Mark and Susan Clark of Roanoke; Marcia and Richard Peterson of Dumfries; Monica and Jefferson Hobbs of Frederick, Md.; and Miriam and Al Saguto of Williamsburg, Va.; his grandchildren, Christopher Tate, Ariel Clark, and Matthew Tate; sister Patsy Laycock and husband Joe; and brother William Clark and wife Nita; and nieces and nephews.

My dad never served a "big" church or a "first" church. He was not a great administrator, he misspelled words in the bulletins occasionally, he didn’t particularly enjoy board meetings and was never a favorite of the "inner circle" and decision makers at any of the churches he served as far as I can remember. But when he straightened up his full 5’5" frame and stepped behind the pulpit and opened the King James version of the Bible (he would read nothing else) and began to read, you knew that the hand of God was upon him; and by the time the sermon was finished you knew that God had indeed been in attendance at that service. I calculate that during my life I heard my father preach more than one thousand sermons. Never the same one twice and never one that was delivered in haste or in a spirit that was not appropriate to being behind the pulpit. That is how I will always remember my father, standing tall behind a pulpit clothed in a black robe enjoining in a voice that could shake the rafters, "Turn with me now to the New Testament and read the words of the Apostle Paul where he says…" Amen and Amen.

— Mark D. Clark

 

 

 

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