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George Peirce Clark

CLARK, GEORGE PEIRCE, 98, retired Professor and Chairman of the Department of English at Hanover College, died in Louisville on April 19, 2014.

An avid reader his whole life, Clark enlivened countless family discussions with his ability to spontaneously quote literary greats. His curiosity led him to study ancient Greek and Latin, French and German, which he was able to use over the course of his international career. Clark was known and loved for his sense of humor and sharp wit, as well as his devotion to his family and in particular to his wife, Shirley.

Born on September 8, 1915, in Indianapolis, IN, to Purdue Robert Clark and Alice Germaine Peirce, Clark spent his early childhood in Delphi, IN. In 1929, he moved to Cleveland Heights, OH, and in 1934 graduated from Cleveland Heights High School.

He continued his studies at the College of Wooster, from which he graduated in 1938, Phi Beta Kappa, with a major in Classics. After a year of graduate school in Classics at Princeton University, he returned to teach for a year at Wooster (1939-40).

His later graduate studies at Yale University were interrupted when Clark proudly enlisted in the Army on June 30, 1942, and subsequently completed gunnery school in Fort Myers, FL. He served with the 611th Bombardment Squadron (H) and joined the 374th Bombardment Squadron (H) in the 308th Bombing Group in 1944. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the China-Burma-India theater, where he completed 25 missions as tail gunner.

Clark remained in the military until his honorable discharge on October 19, 1945.

After the war, Clark resumed his graduate studies at Yale, receiving his Ph.D. in English in 1948. On August 23, 1946, he married Shirley Ellen Garlock; they remained happily married for almost 66 years, until Mrs. Clark's death in 2012.

Clark's career was a blend of college teaching in the Midwest and government service abroad. He was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Mainz in Germany, and served as Cultural Attaché for the U.S. Information Agency in Germany and Haiti in the 1960s. From 1967 until his retirement in 1981, Clark was Chairman of the English Department at Hanover College, Hanover, IN.

He retained a lifelong interest in travel, European and U.S. history. With his wife, he researched and edited a book and several articles on a variety of military and historical topics. Clark also regularly pored over the science section of the New York Times.

He is survived by his four children, Robert (Diana), Albuquerque, NM; Alice (Jack Martens), Winnetka, IL; Sarah (James Cocks), Floyds Knobs, IN; and James (Melanie), La Cañada Flintridge, CA; seven grandchildren, Victoria Dunbar (Dennis), Justin Clark (Alejandra), Cynthia Martens (Riccardo Ripani), Andrew Martens, Alexandra Clark, Peirce Clark and Marshall Clark; and five great-grandchildren, Daniel Dunbar, Dustin Dunbar, Alicia Clark, Kasella Clark and Jonathan Clark.

Donations may be made to the Wabash & Erie Canal, 1030 N. Washington St., Delphi, IN 46923.

Burial will be private.

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Published in The Courier-Journal on Apr. 23, 2014
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