Charles's Story

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Charles George Clark, 89, of Kalkaska, passed away at Kalkaska Memorial Assisted Living on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Mr. Clark was born at home, during a snowstorm, in Gregory to the late Charles and Margaret (Driver) Clark.
He grew up in Pinckney and at an early age started helping at his father's gas station and garage, where they also had the local AAA wrecker service.
Chuck entered the U.S. Army during World War II, where he served in the 27th Regiment, 25th Division, "Tropic Lightning" in Okinawa and Hokkaido, Japan.
Upon his return from military service in the Pacific he began his lifelong pursuit of higher education at Western Michigan University. While there he earned three varsity letters in baseball, football and golf. Chuck went on to earn master's degrees from both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
He married the love of his life, Ruth Kennedy, on Sept. 9, 1950.
Chuck's life was a quiet statement of service to others. Mr. Clark began teaching at Kalkaska High School in 1953 and continued his tenure until his retirement in 1992. During that time he was extremely active, from being instrumental in starting the football and ski teams as well as extra-curricular activities for the high school, to fighting for better conditions for Kalkaska teachers, acting as chief negotiator for the Kalkaska Education Association, and introducing UNIVAC II computer applications to his science classes when primarily only colleges had access in the 1960s. He was a finalist for Teachers in Space and was invited to attend the second to last NASA Challenger launch as a VIP member and received Northern Michigan Teacher of the Year award.
During the Vietnam War Chuck used a ham radio to relay messages from soldiers to their families. Chuck had his pilot's license and was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, where he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel; he was also a member of the National Ski Patrol. Chuck and Ruth have been members at St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church since 1953, and Chuck was a member of the Knights of Columbus. In 2009 Chuck was inducted into the Kalkaska High School Alumni Hall of Fame. He was always honored to teach the students of Kalkaska.
Chuck is survived by his wife of nearly 67 years, Ruth; children, Charles L. (Marsha), Kevin J. (Karen), Timothy P. (Sharon), Gerald A. (Lori) and Joan Clark; grandchildren, Brendan, Shane (Marie), Angella (Jed), Michael (Erin), Laura (Jonathan), Michael, Melissa (Zack), Jeff, David and Cameron; great-grandchildren, Conner, Addison, Ella, Keegan, Max, Axel, Lydia and Ben; siblings, Tom, Dennis, Francis and Anita; and brother-in-law, Ray.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Mary and Elizabeth; and brother, Jerry.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, at St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church; friends may gather beginning at 10 a.m.
Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Clark's honor to Kalkaska High School or Heartland Hospice.
Arrangements were entrusted to Kalkaska Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on August 13, 2017
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