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Ken Clark

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Ken Clark Obituary
Ken Clark
Resident of Pleasant Hill
Just six years ago, Kenny Clark walked 100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, with a 40-lb pack on his back for his 80th birthday! The picture of health, he had never been a hospital patient until an hour before he died on Saturday night, June 7.
A man of gentle strength and honor, he was stoic, patient, and reserved, and he never made a scene. He loved being with Nancy, his best friend and wife of 59 years. He attended every birthday dinner, family reunion, and special occasion—usually long into the night—and often beamed, "All my babies are here." Though he wasn't materialistic in the least, he was deeply attached to sentimental mementoes of loved ones. He often flashed a warm smile, and played with people with a subtle, intelligent, and sometimes mischievous sense of humor.
He enjoyed quiet relationships with many people whose paths crossed his, and throughout his life he counseled, mentored, and comforted so many. Generous with his time, he was quick to lend a hand whenever he could. Family, friends, and acquaintances learned that they could go to him when things didn't make sense or when they didn't know what to do—whether it was a broken motorcycle chain, a serious health threat, or complicated personal relationships. Smart, logical, and creative, he kept it simple, and pondered a puzzle or problem until he solved it, coming to be called "the man who can fix anything."
Ken earned a Business degree from Cal Berkeley in 1950 and, with exceptional aptitude in physics and engineering, he returned to Cal to earn a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1975. He holds a patent for a flight-mapping instrument he designed. An entrepreneur and engineer, Ken built and sold two businesses—Cardinal Engineering and Custom Coils—and, after helping to prepare another family business for sale, he recently built yet another business repairing and restoring antique clocks.
Having been a Navy pilot, Ken continued to fly and took his family and friends on many adventures. Eventually, he bought his own plane and saw a great deal of the American West. Born and raised in the northeast corner of Washington State, he was an expert outdoorsman. He loved the mountains and raised his family on hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, climbing, skiing, and shooting. Hunting for his own sustenance was philosophically very important to him, and the wilderness of the high country was his church, where God's greatness was most present for him.
After living in the same house in Pleasant Hill for 57 years, Ken collapsed at a neighborhood party, surrounded by dear friends. He died an hour later with his wife and four children by his side. He is survived by Nancy and their children Therese, Katie, Patty, and Dan as well as grandchildren Nick, Sophie, Jake, and Tyler. He also leaves his in-laws Hank Nichandros, Tony Vecchio, Todd Peterson, and Raquel Clark; his brothers' children and other family members; and many loved ones from the neighborhood, "The Clan," and other journeys.
In lieu of flowers, Ken would have liked you to go out to dinner with someone you love—or someone you like even a little. We welcome your presence at a Memorial Service to celebrate his extraordinary life on Friday, June 13 at 1:00 at Christ the King Church, 199 Brandon Road, Pleasant Hill.


Published in Contra Costa Times from June 11 to June 12, 2014
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