CAMPBELLSVILLE – Robert S. Clark, a Shelby County native who was described as one of the ""best of Baptist higher educators and leaders,"" died on Friday at his home in Campbellsville. He was 81. Clark, a graduate of Shelbyville High School, served 32 years at Campbellsville University, most of those as academic vice president, until his retirement in 1998. Known for his integrity and his gentlemanly manner, he ""touched the lives of thousands of people during his abundant life of Christian servant leadership,"" CU President Michael V. Carter said. ""He was a distinguished academician and higher education vice president during his decades of leadership at Campbellsville University. ""In many ways, he was one of the best of Baptist higher educators and leaders. We extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Clark and his loving family. We thank God for the life and legacy of Dr. Robert Clark."" Al Hardy, with whom Clark worked as a colleague and who was a fellow pastor, said, ""There has never been a more caring, consistent Christian than Robert Clark. When you thought of a man of integrity you would think of Robert. Many times he has put others interest before his own. His love of history was only surpassed by his love for the Bible and Jesus Christ. If you needed someone with whom to share a problem, you knew you could trust Robert Clark."" Clark began his work at CU as an associate professor of social sciences in 1966. He became vice president for academic affairs and dean, as well as professor of social science, in 1976 and served until his retirement. Connie Wilson worked with Clark as his secretary for more than 15 years. She said what she will remember most about him is the ""great Christian man he was and the exemplary life that he led. ""He touched many lives during the years he served at Campbellsville,"" she said. ""Dean Clark was a great historian who saw and taught the relevance of history in our daily lives."" When Clark retired from Campbellsville University, President Kenneth W. Winters presented him with an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Clark grew in the ranks of church work and higher education, since serving as minister of Shop Springs Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn., in 1957. He also served as minister of Green Hill Baptist Church in Mount Juliet, Tenn., and as part-time professor of religion at Cumberland College of Tennessee. Clark loved history and did graduate work in history with his Ed.D. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Georgetown College, his master of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and master of arts from Middle Tennessee State University. He did graduate work in Tulane
University in New Orleans. He was a member of the Filson Club of Louisville, the Kentucky Historical Society and the Taylor County Historical Society where he was a charter member and served as president and director. He participated as a speaker with the Kentucky Humanities Council and was well known for his knowledge of President Abraham Lincoln's Kentucky connections and Baptist history. In 2006, the Central Kentucky News-Journal named him ""Taylor County Man of the Year."" Fellow pastor, friend and former colleague, Dan Flanagan, said, ""The passing of Dr. Clark leaves a major void in the lives of the many hundreds of people he has influenced over the years. He was a man of wisdom, high principles and integrity who ministered to the needs of everyone with which he came in contact. His positive approach to life will be missed by our community, the higher education community and Christian community."" Clark was a long-time member of Campbellsville Baptist Church.
Clark is survived by his wife, Lillian Bruner Clark, who has served for many years on the Taylor County School Board. She is also a retired high school counselor and English teacher and has taught English at Campbellsville University. He is also survived by four children: Sandra Blanton of Indiana; Renee Kessler of Greensburg; Beverly Manley of Waddy; and Bobby Clark of Campbellsville; 12 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and one sister Betty Breniser and husband Jack of Indiana. He was the son of the late Tom and Lillie Berry.