David Clark

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David Walter Clark, 82, died at peace among family and friends March 31, 2014, at Kendal at Oberlin.

Dave was born on Dec. 7, 1931, in Montague City, Mass., and grew up in nearby Deerfield, where he graduated from Deerfield Academy. In 1950, Dave enrolled at Oberlin College where, in 1955, he received his AB in Greek. While at Oberlin, Dave met his then-to-be wife and lifetime partner, Ricarda ("Ricky") Kohn of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Dave and Ricky were married on June 14, 1954. They then went to Bad Nations, S.D., where, under the auspices of the Congregational Christian Service Committee, they were in charge of a work camp for high school students from states throughout the nation. They then moved to New York where Dave earned his Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary while Ricky worked at Julliard. Dave was ordained in the Congregational Church in 1958.

After Dave's ordination, he and Ricky moved to Austinburg, Ohio, where he served as minister of First United Church of Christ, which, established in 1801, was the first congregation to be formed in the Western Reserve in Ohio. It was in Austinburg that sons Jon and Kevin were born. In 1963, the Clarks returned to Oberlin where Dave was appointed as the assistant director of development at Oberlin College. In 1968, Dave accepted the position of director of estate resources at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., where he developed a new program in charitable estate planning and planned giving. While at Tufts, the Clarks lived in Weston where Dave served as the minister of the Congregational Church of Weston, UCC.

In 1972, Dave and his family again returned to Oberlin where he served as director of development at Oberlin College and later as its vice president of external affairs. In 1984, he was named Oberlin's senior trust officer and established the Office of Capital Ventures specializing in the innovative application of charitable tax laws to college investments in real estate. In that capacity, he was named president of college properties of Southwest Florida and two other real estate subsidiary corporations of the college. As senior trust officer, Dave also administered the investment of the college's charitable trusts. Simultaneously, he was consultant to the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation on charitable gifts of real estate and specialized charitable trusts. After his retirement from the college in 1990, Dave, in addition to his continued services to High/Scope, served as trustee of several charitable trusts and was the manager of the Richard R. Hallock Foundation, a significant benefactor to the Oberlin Heritage Center.

Dave was regarded as a national expert in the area of planned giving and lectured widely at a variety of charitable organizations. Dave chaired the education committee of the National Organization for Educational Fundraising and wrote and edited the "Guide to the Administration of Charitable Reminder Trusts," which was published in three editions.

Dave served as interim minister of First Church in Oberlin from 1991 to 1992 and the Brownhelm Congregational Church from 1993 to 1994.

Dave was an involved community member and was a driving and influential force in many aspects of Oberlin's development, though mostly from behind the scenes. As senior trust officer at Oberlin College, Dave was involved in the formation of Oberlin's Intergenerational House, an experimental living arrangement in which senior citizens and Oberlin College students shared the same residence. He was involved with the John Frederick Oberlin Society, and served as board member on the Allen Hospital Foundation, Oberlin Seniors, Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization, and Lake Ridge Academy. Dave was a trustee for First Church in Oberlin and served on the City Housing Improvement Program Commission. Notably, he was instrumental in bringing the Kendal system to Oberlin and in the acquisition of the land for what is now Kendal at Oberlin. As Dave was a founding member of the Kendal at Oberlin board of directors, it was fitting that after moving to Kendal in 2006, Dave and Ricky both died under the loving and gracious care of the Kendal at Oberlin staff.

Dave's contributions to the First Church are especially noteworthy. Dave, together with others of Oberlin volunteers, accomplished the upgrade of the church organ in 2004. This momentous endeavor required hundreds of hours and significant ingenuity in the installation of hardwood reinforcement between the attic joists to assure proper acoustics as well as the removal of hundreds, if not thousands, of screws from the woodwork of the old organ as part of its replacement. Dave was also responsible for the construction of the church bell tables and the renewal of the Finney Room located behind the pulpit. As part of its renewal, Dave handcrafted a new table from walnut harvested from several church pews that had been removed.

Dave was a devoted husband, a wonderful and wise father, a gifted woodworker and cabinet maker, and was a master of the written and spoken word. As a philanthropist Dave contributed generously to many causes and his personal contributions to the Oberlin community were immense, selfless, and unbounded. Despite his many professional accomplishments, Dave always lived his life with grace and humility and was especially creative in overcoming the many and significant personal challenges that he faced. Dave dedicated his life to helping others in many ways. He was a friend to all, and particularly to all that knew him. Dave will be greatly missed.

Dave was predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Ivy (nee Bolton) Clark; brother, Lester; sisters Mavis and Sylvia; and wife Ricky. He is survived by two sons, Jon and Kevin of Oberlin; three grandchildren and one great-grandson.

A memorial service will be Saturday, May 17 at 3 p.m. at First Church in Oberlin with the Rev. David Hill officiating. An informal reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Dicken Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Elyria handled arrangements. For online condolences, visit

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Dicken Funeral Home - Elyria
323 Middle Ave.
Elyria, OH 44035
(440) 322-3224
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Published in The Oberlin News Tribune from Apr. 10 to Apr. 11, 2014
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