John Blue Clark ’42

Our dad died peacefully at home at Springmoor, just one week after his 99th birthday.  Although we were not surprised at his passing, we deeply grieve his departure.  

He was always grateful for each visit with his family, but he was ready to leave and be with our mom.

Jack was the seventh child of Eric Conrad Clark Sr. and Margaret Cromartie Clark, born April 5, 1921 and raised in Clarkton, North Carolina. He is survived by his son John B. Clark Jr (wife Becky), daughter Ann Clark-Durkin (husband John) and son William G. Clark (wife Shelli), 6 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.  He was the last of his siblings to pass.  

Our Dad lived a good life. He credited his lifelong faith in God to his parents and raised us with the values he himself learned growing up.

Jack discovered his love of flying while at Davidson College.  After graduating from Davidson in 1942 he tried to join the Air Force but was told that there was a desperate need for people to train pilots. So, he went to Bennettsville SC, joined the reserves for the Army Air Corps, and was a flight instructor during the war years.  

In 1944 he was hired by American Airlines and began his career.  Soon after that American Airlines donated planes and pilots to the Army Air Corps and Dad volunteered to be a civilian pilot for the Army Air Corps. He flew DC4s throughout Northern Europe and North Africa carrying VIPs, high ranking military officers, USO tours and bringing injured soldiers back from the Bataan March.  

When the war ended, he was given full military service credit for this time. He continued to work for American Airlines until 1980.  His career with American spanned 36 years.

He married Jacquelyn Ann Gilmer in 1946, we were born between 1947 and 1951, and our life was typical for baby boomers – Dad worked, Mom stayed home and we kids made it to adulthood.  Our family lived on Long Island for a little over 25 years, then in 1974 as empty nesters, mom and dad moved back to North Carolina.

Throughout his life our dad was involved in many activities – most notably, throughout his flying career, he studied tirelessly how to make the sky a safer place for air travel. He loved flying and he was dedicated and passionate about sharing his knowledge of flying safely with others. 

He loved to talk…and talk …In fact, if you were ever around our dad for 5 minutes you might have heard the words “Thunderstorm”, “Cross Wind Landing” and “Lift and Angle of Attack” at least once in the conversation!

And if you were anywhere near him for more than 5 minutes, you could probably fly an airplane yourself!

He loved to play golf.  He was very involved in the church and sang in the choir.  He was generous in his support of extended family members.

He was very proud of his children and of their successes in life.

When we knew that our mom was drifting into the abyss of Alzheimer’s, Dad cared for her at home as long as he could, and then, when her need for more care was apparent, they moved to the Springmoor Retirement community, Dad into an apartment and Mom into the memory care facility. Both were where they needed to be.  He visited her every day rarely leaving her side and cared for her until she passed in 2003.  

He continued to live independently at Springmoor for many years and remained active – visiting others at Springmoor, helping drive residents to appointments, and enjoying his family until his body started slowing down and he moved into the healthcare side of the community, where he remained until his passing.

We would like to thank everyone at Springmoor for all the years of their unwavering support and care.  A special thanks to Reverend Phyllis Mayo for providing emotional and spiritual support during this time.  Our grateful thanks, as well, to the hospice care provided him at the end.

Our Dad will be buried next to our mom in his childhood home of Clarkton. Because of the extreme challenges we are currently facing in our country, we will be waiting to have a family celebration of life until it is appropriate and safe to do so. Details will be distributed when things are better.

Condolences may be sent to:

Dr. and Mrs. John B. Clark Jr.
541 Hempstead Place, Charlotte, NC 28207

Mr. and Mrs. John P. Durkin Jr.
13575 Stoney Creek Rd., San Diego, CA 92129

Dr. and Mrs. William G. Clark
12418 Dunard St., Raleigh, NC. 27614

Continuing his legacy of helping others and in lieu of flowers, our family would offer several charitable organizations’ information for those of you who might want to honor our dad’s memory

Children’s Home Society of North Carolina
PO Box 14608, Greensboro, NC 27415

Alzheimer’s San Diego
6632 Convoy Ct., San Diego, CA 92111

St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105