Clyde O. Clark died Nov. 25, 2008, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Clyde was born Sept. 5, 1924, in Sweet Grass to Agnes Shane and Ot Clark.
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His early schooling was in Shelby. He graduated from a military high school at Carson Long Institute in Bloomfield, Pa. Following graduation he attended Montana State College to study engineering and was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.
In 1943 he left MSC to enlist. The army recognized Clyde's leadership skills, sent him to officer candidate school and commissioned him as a second lieutenant.
He was sent to the German front and distinguished himself as an infantry man in the 8th Armor Division. He received a Bronze Star and other combat medals for his heroic efforts. A heartfelt letter to his mother on VE Day showed his early compassion when he wrote: "I will always remember VE Day in Brussels. I was so glad, and yet tears came to my eyes thinking of the men, my men, that would not see it."
Upon his return to the U.S., he resumed his education at Montana State College where he met the love of his life, Candace Davis. Several months later Clyde was given an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he received his regular army commission. Soon after he married Candace Davis and stayed lovingly married for 61 years.
Clyde's military career spanned 28 years and followed closely with the Cold War of the last half of the last century. He was stationed in Iran in the early 1950s and his astute diplomatic understanding of situations split his career between armor divisions and diplomacy.
From 1960 to 1964 he was assigned to the embassy in London and worked with intelligence networks. London meant a lot to both Clyde and Candy, and they would visit there many times over the years.
Upon their return stateside, Lt. Col. Clyde Clark became battalion commander of "Old Ironsides" in Fort Hood, Texas. This command prepared him for his combat duty between 1966 and 1967 in Pleiku, Vietnam. Clyde was again decorated for his courage with a Legion of Merit award, along with many combat medals from the U.S. and Vietnamese.
When he returned, Clyde was sent to the National War College and given his master's degree in international relations and promoted to full colonel. He was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon where he was the chief executive officer of the assistant secretary of defense. Melvin Laird personally awarded Clyde with his second Legion of Merit with double oak leaf clusters.
Montana beckoned Clyde home in 1972 when his wife's father, Wes Davis, asked him to operate the family farm in the Springhill area outside Bozeman. After running it for many years, Clyde eventually retired and became a gentleman farmer.
He and his wife became contributing members of the Bozeman community and enjoyed traveling abroad. Clyde was a member of St. James Episcopal Church, Rotary Club, and QK. He enjoyed the outdoors, horseback riding, hunting, skiing, and fellowship with his friends.
He will be remembered for his compassion, charm, wit and great intelligence.
Clyde is survived by his wife, Candace Clark; daughter, Sidney McElroy; sons, Thomas and Wesley; and his two grandchildren, Matt and Anne Clark.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, at St. James Episcopal Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Clyde's name may be made to the Southwest Montana Alzheimer's Association, 201 S. Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service; www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5, 2008