November 10, 2013

Ralph Merton Clark Jr.


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Ralph Merton Clark Jr. was born Dec. 12, 1926, to Ralph Merton Clark and Theodocia (Ayers) Clark in Stowe, Vt.

He grew up on a small farm in Stowe with two brothers, Homer and George and a sister, Rachel. Ralph graduated Stowe High School in 1944 and immediately entered the Navy V-5 program at Middlebury College.

In 1944 was moved to NAS Station in Willow Grove, Pa. In the fall of 1945 he was moved first to the University of Iowa then to NAS at Ottumwa for preflight training. Upon completing this program went to Glenview, Ill. to start flight training just as WWII was ending. Ralph was discharged and returned home to Stowe in 1946.

Ralph then began studies at UVM, graduating with an A.B. in Biology in 1950. The next year he returned to UVM to obtain an M.S. in Education in 1951. He began teaching in Enosburg, Vt. and after one year moved to Arlington, Vt. High School. In 1955, he had the opportunity to teach at the USAF school in Wiesbaden, Germany. While there, he became a charter member of the Luftbrucke Lodge Masons. After two years in Germany, Ralph returned to the USA and accepted a position to teach at Nanuet High School, where he met his wife, Patricia Thorburn. Ralph and Pat were married in an Episcopal church in Nyack, N.Y. in 1958. They soon moved to Pullman, Wash., where Ralph became a graduate student at Washington State and earned an M.S. degree in Zoology in 1961. They then moved back East to Amherst, Mass. where Ralph became the second person at the University of Massachusetts to win a PhD in Zoology.

In 1963, Ralph and Pat both obtained teaching positions in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Ralph teaching Biology at Plattsburgh State University, and Pat teaching grade school in the Peru School District. Their only child, daughter Theo Patrica Clark, was born in 1963 at CVPH Medical Center. Ralph had a long and distinguished career at Plattsburgh State, including a stint as Chairman of the Biology Department.

After retirement, he and Pat traveled extensively all over the world. Ralph continued to travel after Pat's death in 1998. Ralph loved his community and his views of Lake Champlain in Cliff Haven. He was an avid skier for most of his life, and loved boating and gardening. He was active at Plattsburgh State long after his retirement, keeping an office and lab in the Biology department for many years. He was also a faithful attendant at the Plattsburgh State Hockey games, not missing many games in all his years in Plattsburgh. ^ Calling hours for Ralph will be from from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Brown Funeral Home in Plattsburgh. It was Ralph's wish that his friends, colleagues and neighbors join his family at his home in Cliff Haven for a farewell drink after the calling hours, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. that night. Arrangements are entrusted to Brown Funeral Home, 29 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 (518) 561-3980. Online condolences and memorial candles may be offered at www.brownfu