WEST COLUMBIA — Melvin Earl Clark, 89, of West Columbia, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, May 1, 2014, at his residence.
He was a caring husband, father, Navy veteran, professional baseball player, professional scout, fox hunter, insurance/investment agent and gentleman farmer. He was the son of the late Lawrence R. and Estyl Roush Clark.
He was also preceded in death by his brother, Gerald E. "Pokey" and Juanita Clark; sister Judy Marks; and brother-in-law Leonard Fields.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sally Clark; son Brent (Amanda) Clark, of Letart; daughter Barbara (Charles) Davis, of Stow, Ohio; grandchildren Maura (Ben) Brown, of Royse City, Texas, LT Bradford (Hannah) Clark, USCG of Cleveland, Ohio, 1st Lt. Brenton Clark, of Fort Campbell, Ky., Jarret Davis, of Columbus, Ohio, Meredith Davis, of Huntsville, Ala., and Aaron Davis, of Lewisburg; five great-grandchildren, Adrianne, Addison, Anniliese, Aleydis Brown and Lydia Clark; sisters Eileen Fields, of New Haven, and Phyllis (Harley) Fetty, of Point Pleasant; brothers Dorwin Clark, of New Haven, Ralph (Sue) Clark, of Point Pleasant, and Gordon (Michelle) Clark, of West Columbia; and many nieces and nephews.
During World War II from 1942 to 1945, Mel Clark served with the U.S. Navy and was based on a LSD in the Pacific. He was assigned to a landing craft and saw action at Iwo Jima, Philippines and New Guinea. After his discharge, Mel attended Ohio University and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1947.
The Phillies assigned Mel to the class D Appleton Papermakers that same year, where he appeared in 41 games and hit .347. In 1948, he was with the class D Baton Rouge Red Sticks and again he hit .347 with 191 base hits in 550 at bats. He also set a league record with 22 triples that same year.
By the time the outfielder made it to the majors with the Phillies on Sept. 11, 1951, he had five minor league seasons under his belt and also a degree from Ohio University. Mel appeared in 10 games before the season was over and hit .323; he followed-up with a .335 average as a part-time player in 1952.
His career was set back by a knee injury, and by 1955 he was back in the minors. However, he did return to the majors briefly with the Detroit Tigers in 1957, closing out with a .277 career average. Clark spent the balance of 1957 with the AAA Charleston Senators, hitting .285 and would close out his pro baseball career in 1958 with the AA Birmingham Barons where he appeared in 140 games and hit for a .295 average.
Mel spent 12 full seasons in professional baseball from 1947 through 1958, and along with his major league career batting average of .277; he also produced a .298 average in the minors.
After baseball, Mel made his residence in West Columbia, where he was in the insurance business for many years until retirement. Mel and his wife, Sally Lou Roush Clark, were married Feb. 28, 1948. The parents of Brent Clark and Barbara Clark Davis, they have six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Mel was a life member of VFW Post, American Legion Post 140.
Viewing will be from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturday, May 3, 2014, at Faith Baptist Church in Mason. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Faith Baptist Church, with viewing one hour prior to service. Officiating will be the Rev. Ron Branch.
In lieu of flowers, make contributions to Faith Baptist Church Missionary Fund.
Arrangements under the direction of Foglesong Roush Funeral Home in Mason. Condolences can be made online at foglesongroushfh.org.