FEBRUARY 1, 1936 – DECEMBER 10, 2022
Dr. William Dean Clark (Bill) was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma February 1, 1936 to Verlon and Susie Clark. Although he resided most of his life in Texas, he remained a proud Oklahoman who never forgot his heritage even as he embraced the culture of his adopted state. He was raised with one brother and two sisters. He was married one time to, Shirley Reid Clark, who was a beloved partner and preceded him in death. He had two boys, two daughters in law, two grandchildren and five great grandchildren who lovingly knew him as GPa. He loved his family and all of them cherished him with hearts full of love. He was also a proud member of Bonita United Methodist Church and veteran of the U.S. Army rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Dr. Clark achieved a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Texas in 1968 and taught at Stephen F. Austin State University for over 50 years. He enjoyed a distinguished career that included a number of honors and awards including Teaching Excellence award for College of Science and Mathematics, Distinguished Professor Award and was a Fellow of the Texas Academy of Science. He was a published author of numerous mathematic workbooks that were co-authored by his friend and colleague, Dr. Sandra McCune, and was recognized as a Professor Emeritus upon his retirement at the age of 84. He would always say his greatest gifts were the many students that passed through his classes over the years and that aiding them in their life pursuits was his finest professional accomplishment.
Dr. Clark lived in Nacogdoches for 56 years and grew to love the town, the culture and the many friendships developed over the years. He was a cattleman who served as President of The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association. He loved SFA, Universities of Oklahoma and Texas sports along with Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves baseball and Dallas Cowboys football. Music and the arts were an important part of his life and he enjoyed playing the guitar and performing, on occasion, as a player at the Lamp-lite Playhouse. He enjoyed a friendship with each member of the East Texas String Ensemble, even sitting in with them from time to time. It would be impossible to name all of his friends, but he was so thankful for all of them as they helped weave the fabric of his life. So many came to see him in his last days none more so than Bill Long who was faithful in his daily visits. The Family is grateful to all and to the wonderful nurses and doctors who cared for him throughout his final months.
Dr. Clark was a charter member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and his service is briefly described by his friend, former law enforcement official and County Judge, Greg Sowell, below:
Bill graduated from the Nacogdoches Citizens Police Academy in 2001. He was a long-time member of the CPA Alumni Association of the Nacogdoches Police Department. In 2007, the police department formed the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which is the volunteer assistance force of the NPD. Bill was a charter member of this force, being named an original Lieutenant/Squad Leader. He volunteered many hours to the Nacogdoches Police Department in both support and emergency operations. He served in this capacity until this year, when he “retired” due to health concerns. He was a tireless supporter of law enforcement and the Nacogdoches Police Department.
Dr. Clark was the founding father of a yearly tradition, The Flotilla, that has survived for 50+ years and one of his close friends, Roy Joe Harris, wrote a brief commemorative below:
Some fifty plus years ago, a handful of friends from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Stephen F. Austin State University, started a tradition called Flotilla. Flotilla is formally defined as a camping trip to a lake of the group’s choosing that started the weekend after the week of final exams in the spring semester. Flotilla is more loosely defined as what a bunch of seventh grade boys would do if they were of legal drinking age and had beer money. Dr. Clark was not only a founding father of this event, he was the captain. Flotilla officially started (…and starts, because Flotilla continues to this day) when Dr. Clark’s green Toyota showed up with the official Flotilla gear and Flotilla officially ended when Dr. Clark’s green Toyota left with mentioned gear. In between the arrival and departure of that green pickup you could count on hundreds of hands of poker being dealt, an unending recounting of escapades of Flotillas past, gobs of good food and drink, and the “Rose Ceremony.” The Rose Ceremony is as close to serious as Flotilla gets. This ceremony, over which Captain Clark presided, is that time during Flotilla when all of those present gather around to remember those fallen members of Flotilla. For each gorilla of Flotilla no longer with us, Captain Clark would give a brief history of this man, tell a story worthy of Flotilla memory, lead us in a toast to our fallen comrade, and throw a flower in the lake in remembrance. Many of us envisioned the day when the toughest of us all, Captain Clark aka Silverback, would lead a Rose Ceremony where only he would be in attendance. Like so many who are reading this, words cannot capture how much Captain Clark has meant to so many nor can words capture the legacy he created.
Dr. Clark is survived by his children, Doug and his wife, Lynn, of Nacogdoches; Darryl and his wife, Shari, of Pueblo West, Colorado; Grandchildren, Amber and her partner, Jeff Thomas, of Westcliffe, Colorado and Bill and his wife, Jade, of Auburn, Georgia and five great grandchildren, Will, Lilly, Sunny, Rose and Callie of Auburn, Georgia as well as his brother, Gale and wife, Vangie, of Georgetown, Texas and sisters, Barbara Clark of San Diego, California and Connie and her husband Phil Foster of Vian, Oklahoma along with many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Shirley, whom he considered a perfect partner and companion.
As was his way, he wouldn’t want the living to despair for him. He lived a full life and fought the good fight.
A visitation will be held Tuesday, December 13, 2022 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors. A funeral service will occur Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 10:00 AM at First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches officiated by Pastor Brad McKenzie.
Bill will be laid to rest in Sunset Memorial Park.
Serving as pallbearers will be Roy Joe Harris, Keith Hubbard, Bill Long, Greg Miller, Ray Morris, and Greg Sowell. Honorary pallbearers will be Roy Alston, Bobby Boudria, and Jack Griffin.
Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Clark’s name to Bonita United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 632701, Nacogdoches, Texas 75963 or to the Stephen F. Austin State University William D. Clark Scholarship, P.O. Box 6092, SFA Station, Nacogdoches, Texas 75962.
Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors.