Meet the Clark's

President Scott B. Clark and Sister Sandra G. Clark were called to serve in the Philippines Angeles Mission beginning July 2014. 

 Prior to their mission service the Clark's lived in the Naperville 3rd Ward of the Joliet Illinois Stake. Both President and Sister Clark enjoy multi-generational Church heritages, going back to the 1800’s. They are the parents of four married children (Staci, Mikale, Preston, Brian) and have 11 grandchildren.



January 2016. Philippines.




Over the course of thirty-plus years of marriage the Clark's have been blessed to live in several beautiful areas and enjoy many cherished friendships. After completing their formal educations in the 1980’s, they pursued career and family building in the San Francisco Bay area (2 1/2 yrs.), Southern Utah (1 year), Northern Nevada (8 years), and Chicagoland (18 years). President Clark’s career started in public accounting. He then worked for a short period in higher education before going back to the private sector. He has spent the last 24 years in the practice of law as in-house counsel for firms in the automotive and health care industries.

Service in the Church has been a mainstay of the Clark family and they have filled various assignments including: Sister Clark - RS presidency, YW presidency, camp director, seminary teacher, stake seminary supervisor; President Clark – stake president, stake presidency counselor, high councilor, stake missionary, Young Mens’ president and advisor, elders quorum president and teacher.


President Clark and Sister Clark were both raised on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. Each enjoyed many advantages growing up, including strong parental support, a loving family, and great testimony- and character-shaping experiences through Church activity. President served a full-time mission to Sendai Japan from 1978-1980. It set the tone for his spiritual life and solidified the underpinning of his adult testimony. Sister Clark (Sandra Curtis) grew up in tight-knit immediate and extended family with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins often nearby. Her college studies at Southern Utah State College were life changing, having long-term influence in many aspects of her adult life including home, Church and community service. President Clark and Sister Clark met on a "blind date" that actually worked! They married in 1981 soon after President Clark’s return from missionary service. At that time, Sister Clark was an elementary school teacher. Together they worked to complete President Clark’s formal education at the University of Utah. President Clark and Sister Clark are certain the Spirit led them to one another, and their eternal union has made life abundant in things that really matter.



The Clark's are honored to serve with the missionaries of the Philippines Angeles Mission and work closely with our Filipino members. President and Sister Clark enjoy family vacations, travel, physical exercise, time with friends and almost anything involving their grandchildren.





April 2014 - Zions Canyon

We've added six darling grandchildren since arriving in the Philippines.  We have met 3 of them in person but look forward to getting to know them all a lot better.


                      





A Tribute to a Beautiful and Elect Lady - 
President Clark's Mother
Colleen Christensen Clark
January 3, 2015

[These are President Clark's thoughts as friends and family gather to love and honor Colleen Christensen Clark, our mother, grandmother and friend.]

Brothers and sisters, I can’t think of my mother without feeling a deep gratitude to Dad and my five siblings who served and sacrificed for Mom over the past few years.  I have been an absentee son for most of that time.  Not a status I’m proud of but true nonetheless.  I thank Dad, Jean, Faye, Beth, Gary and Janell for ministering to Mom.  My thanks also to each of their spouses.  All of you have followed the Savior, as He taught, “The works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.”  I thank each of you for not complaining or criticizing as we have lived half-way across the country and then half-way round the world.  We are touched by your emphatic support for Sandy and me, telling us that we are where we should be.  Thank you for understanding.

I note that my feelings and observations expressed this morning are possibly unique to me alone.  Each child has their own special relationship and bond with their mother.  I won’t venture to speak on behalf of my siblings but I believe we share many of the same feelings toward our mother.

I.               MOM MEMORIES
Please indulge me in a few memories of Mom as we honor her today. I’ll share these in the form of attributes I saw in her.

[Mom was or Mom did….]
1.  Hard worker – Mom worked hard all her life.  She was a farm girl from Cache Valley and no stranger to the daily demands of 1940’s rural American life.  There were always chores and responsibilities.  She grew to adulthood working in fields and orchards, supporting her family and herself.  As the mother of six she worked at home and started with relatively few of the modern amenities of our day.  She never owned a dishwasher (despite many offers get one).   She not only worked hard; she worked long.  I could probably count on two hands the number of days Mom stayed in bed due to illness while lived at home.  There was always work to do and she would not let it go undone.

Maybe Mom’s finest hour was the work she did early last year.  I refer to her tireless and courageous work in recovering from her fall and broken hip. Mom was “sentenced” (I think that is the term she would use.) to physical therapy 2-3 times each day while in rehab.  Although tired, drugged, frequently confused and often discouraged, Mom endured in the best sense of that word.  She labored mightily to regain whatever degree of flexibility, strength and mobility that her 80 plus year old body would permit.  She was not a complainer.  She was an opportunist, grinding through stretching and weightlifting sessions with the resolution of an Olympic athlete.  Her work amazed everyone and the effort paid off.  She achieved all that was expected of her, and then some.  In the process, she taught us all about the value of hard work.
 
2.  Intelligent.  If you hadn’t noticed, Mom/Grandma was really, really smart.  She was an unassuming, self-deprecating little woman but had the intellect of a college professor (like one of her brothers).  She could spell anything, was a natural at mathematics and could process and remember incredible amounts of information.  I believe that had she been born into this world a generation or two later she could have been a fantastic lawyer, a superb accountant or a very fine social scientist.  But her life was lived in a simpler time and place.  While she did well in school, higher education was not available to her.  Her sharp mind, however, was not wasted.  She read much and enjoyed lively discussion.  She loved a good joke, even if it was on her.  Until very late in life her intellect was keen and she was quick-witted.

Mom was not one for deep doctrinal discussions.  I don’t recall hearing her preach much from a podium or in a classroom.  But do I remember many testimony meetings in which she shared a robust witness of truth.  She didn’t have to rely solely on words to teach.  Pure gospel and sure doctrine were firmly planted in her everyday actions.

3.  Prudent and thrifty. – Mom lived the old pioneer adage, “Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”.   Maybe it was out of financial necessity or possibly she was just motivated by personal frugality.   Whatever the case may be, I think the scarcity mentality of post-Depression rural Utah was very much imprinted upon her.  Mom was not one to waste.  She mending socks, pants, skirts and shirts.  Canning and bottling fruits and vegetables was a tradition and institution in her kitchen in the Fall of each year.  [I remember grumbling often about being the slave labor for her preserve productions.  I admit that I never complained when eating her delicious products.] 

Dad and Mom got us through every Kennecott labor strike with dignity and sufficiency for our needs.  I wonder now how they maintained calm and self-reliance in our home, when they lived under the threat of labor strikes and loss of income.   Mom was a master budgeter and planner and could stretch a meal and a dollar a very long way.  Don’t get me wrong:  we were not poor and we didn’t go without.   But we learned from Mom how to live and live well with limited resources.  For example, eating out at a “sit down” dinner was a once a year event for most of my growing up years.  The purpose was to celebrate the receipt of the annual income tax return in April.  That was a special day for our family. 

I note that because of Mom’s prudent use of money our family was relatively free of financial worries.  She would credit this to faithful tithing payment and wise planning.  And in her planning was always included a summer vacation which we all loved.  Trips to great places and people are treasured memories for our family.  A tradition we all have carried on in our own families.

4.  Endured Hard Things. The last few years have forced Mom to endure some really hard things.  She left us this week having “fought a good fight, finished [her] course, having kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). But here’s a little something you may not have known.  Mom/Grandma suffered with a terribly painful affliction for the past two decades.  She had trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia develops in mid to late life and causes severe facial pain. The pain, which comes and goes, feels like bursts of sharp, stabbing, electric-shocks. Sufferers have compared it to having large nails pounded repeatedly through their jaw bone. This pain can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.  People with trigeminal neuralgia become plagued by waves of severe pain that interfere with common daily activities such as eating and sleep.  They live in fear of unpredictable painful attacks. The condition can lead to severe anxiety and depression.  Mom sought medical help for years but found little relief.  The pain would often keep her awake deep into the night.  Amazingly few people knew of this chronic pain and its pernicious side effects.  Mom kept it to herself mostly and just endured.

 5.  Steady, faithful and true.  It is ironic that it was an erratic heart that finally took our mother’s life.  She was the heart of our home and for 67 years Mom was the stabilizing force of the family.  I’ve never known such a steady and faithful individual.  Mom was always there, constant in emotion, demeanor and attitude.  I count it a great blessing for my sake that she was slow to anger and quick to praise.  She also was (with a few rare exceptions) very quick to forgive.  In raising us she was as constant as the North Star in her discipline and love.  Both were administered evenly and with care.  In Mom we learned to value patience and the peaceable things of life.

OTHER MEMORIES.   There are a few other random memories of Mom’s likes and dislikes.  Some of these may have shown up in your DNA.
·       Mom loved a good BYU football game on TV… but never in person
·       Most of her life she hated for anyone to touch her feet (although in the past year a foot massage became a delight)
·       Mom loved peanut clusters, chocolate chip cookies, lasagna and a good hot dog
·       Mom did not like a dirty kitchen floor or messy counter top
·       She delighted in watching her grandchildren and great grandchildren play.

II.    Eternal Perspective – Death’s Door
These memories of our mother gain greater meaning when looked at through the prism of gospel knowledge.  The knowledge of eternal preservation and progression.  We are blessed to know that we are here living according to a plan of happiness created by our loving Heavenly Father.  We are in families by divine design and destiny.   The greatest happiness we can achieve in this life and the next will be found in family relationships.

The Father’s plan provides for many rich blessings.  It also stretches us, strains us and tests our faith and endurance.  Death of a loved one is one of the most severe tests. As Elder Russell M. Nelson taught: “Death separates “the spirit and the body [which] are the soul of man.” (D&C 88:15.) That separation evokes pangs of sorrow and shock among those left behind. The hurt is real. Only its intensity varies. Deaths doors close on all, but some doors are heavier than others. The sense of tragedy may be related to age. Yet even when the elderly or infirm have been afforded merciful relief, their loved ones are rarely ready to let go. The only length of life that seems to satisfy the longings of the human heart is life everlasting.

Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)

Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth, we eagerly anticipated the possibility of coming to earth and obtaining a physical body. Knowingly we accepted the risks of mortality, which would allow the exercise of agency and accountability. “This life [was to become] a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” (Alma 12:24.) But we regarded the returning home as the best part of that long-awaited trip…. Before embarking on any journey, we like to have some assurance of a round-trip ticket. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through—and not around—the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. (See 2 Cor. 6:9.) As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.

Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home.  Such was the vision of the psalmist who wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Ps. 116:15.)  Such was the experience of our mother, grandmother, friend and spouse – Colleen Clark – as she walked through deaths door into heavenly realms last Monday night.  Our Savior promises that his arms of mercy are extended to us.  I’m certain that Mom received her share of warm hugs as she returned home. 

We all have our cherished memories of Mom.  We should hold on to them, using them to warm and comfort our hearts when she seems far away.  I know that we are not forgotten to her and she will eagerly greet us one day upon our return home.  In the meantime, life does not stand still.  I know Mom wants us to move upward and forward - just as our Heavenly Father planned.  She would want us happily making more precious family memories that we can share with her sometime in the distant future.  For now, in the belief that heavenly protocol has permitted her to observe this meeting, I extend a farewell. “Mom, you’re the best. We’ll miss you. We love you.  Thanks for entrusting Dad to our care.  You did great for 67 years and we will take it from here.  God be with you.”

We take comfort in knowing that Mom is yet alive in Christ.  His Atonement is as real as the love we hold for her.  Because Jesus Christ lives we have a bright hope for redemption, resurrection and reuniting with those we love in the life hereafter.  These things I know to be true and testify
We love you!

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3 comments:

  1. I LOVE Scott's face with the grandkids. Thanks for putting this together!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful blog and family pictures, we will certainly enjoy checking in and keeping up with President and Sister Clark! Thank you for the invite!

    ReplyDelete