May 17, 1924 - July 6, 2019
Robert Sevy Clark (May 17, 1924 - July 6, 2019) was born in Panguitch, Utah to Elden Dewey Clark and Pauline Sevy Clark, who were also born and raised in Panguitch. Bob’s 95 years of life have been focused on family, faith, and devotion to duty. His life experiences have been uncommon to say the least. At the beginning of the Great Depression, when Bob was five years old, his parents sold their Panguitch home they had built with their own hands, and moved to Salt Lake City to enroll at the University of Utah. The family moved to Chicago for his father to attend medical school at Northwestern University, then to Ogden for residency, and Provo where his father practiced medicine. He felt close to his Granddad Sevy in Panguitch, and enjoyed summers helping watch over sheep in the mountains above Bryce Canyon. When just 12 years old, he spent most of the summer by himself in a mountain sheep camp with a dog, a horse, and a 30-30 rifle. As a teenager in Provo, Bob learned to work hard, securing a blue-collar job at the brickyard where he developed respect and friendship for people of all economic and social classes. Bob attended his senior year of high school at Peter Stuyvesant High School for the Sciences in New York City while his father received advanced training at Columbia University. In 1942, at age 18, Bob enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he served for three years in the 8th Air Force on a B-17 crew stationed at Rougham Airfield in England. He was a bombardier and waist gunner who could take a 50-caliber machine gun apart blindfolded. While on leave in Utah he received a patriarchal blessing that included promises that were precious to him and provided guidance throughout his life. After the war, he enrolled at BYU, where he was a good student and a good athlete, especially as a member of the football team. At age 24, Bob accepted a mission call to Finland, where he served for two and a half years. Soon after his return he met “a fair daughter of Zion,” the love of his life, Verna Stokes, from Salmon, Idaho. They were married in the Idaho Falls Temple on April 18, 1952. It would be impossible to over-state Verna’s contribution as Bob’s greatest ally, comfort, and champion. He also felt greatly blessed by the love and support of the Stokes family. Bob completed a degree in Geology from BYU and was employed by Socony Mobil Oil Company. In the 1950’s, part of that adventure included years in Bogota, Colombia; while Verna stayed in Bogota, Bob would spend weeks at a time on oil exploration assignments in the deep jungle. His children loved his stories of bushmaster snakes, sure-footed pack mules, powerful rivers, and impressive South American natives who guided and even saved his life in the jungle. Bob’s career and life were filled with opportunities to serve and share. He loved science, math, and the natural world. He had a sense of courage and adventure and was never timid or fearful. His inquisitive mind never slowed down. The family lived for years in Mesa, Arizona, and their hearts will be forever blessed because of their dear friends there. Bob interrupted his career in geology to study industrial ceramics at the University of Utah, where he received a Master’s Degree. Later he devised innovative methods to create high-strength ceramics and received process patents that involved stunning results. Commercialization was elusive, yet the passion he felt for his projects was infectious and lasted for years. Bob was willing to serve wherever he was asked. He served for a time as the director of Church programs at the Arizona State Penitentiary in Florence, Arizona. He developed life-long friendships with those who served alongside of him and also with many individuals whose lives and hearts were changed, and who overcame painful mistakes and periods of incarceration. He felt joy in his service as the Bishop of a Young Single Adult ward at BYU, where he cared deeply for each young person. He loved teaching; he taught high school math to underprivileged youth, seminary, and church classes in Sunday School, Young Men, and Primary. Well into his 80’s he accepted a call to teach a Primary class in his ward. He must have been among the Church’s oldest primary teachers, but he loved it. He bought each student a harmonica and, if they participated well, would spend the last few minutes of each class teaching them to play “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” One of the greatest trials of Verna and Bob’s lives started at Thanksgiving in 1991, when their 31 year-old son, Joe, suffered an inexplicable brain infection resulting in debilitating strokes. After many surgeries and weeks of a coma, Joe recovered only enough to speak slowly and have minimal movement. Yet his cognitive abilities were intact and his life became a beacon of light and love to all who knew him. No parents could be more devoted than Bob and Verna, as they did all within their power to show love and care to their son. During that period Joe was visited often by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and Bob developed a special kinship with Elder Maxwell as they gave blessings to Joe together. Joe’s passing in 1996 has been the platform for a tender and life-long opportunity for Bob and Verna to show their faith and belief in an eternal plan of happiness. We rejoice in the image we have of Bob and Joe embracing and feeling the joy of a faithful reunion. In their later years, Bob and Verna were blessed to live in an amazing neighborhood in Provo. They have often remarked that heaven’s blessings were apparent in the neighbors and friends who have been sent their way. The kindness of ministering angels during many years is recognized with great appreciation. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Bob’s life is the manner in which Verna supported him throughout his life, and tenderly cared for him in his later years. Her tireless sacrifice (with the help of devoted children and grandchildren) allowed them to live independently to the end, and has inspired all who know them. Counting the years of Joe’s illness, Verna has spent decades as a full-time caregiver. The entire family also owes a special debt of gratitude to Sam Taylor for years of personal sacrifice in caring for his grandparents. Bob and Verna were gracious and generous hosts, welcoming and sharing to all they encountered. This was a legacy of both the Stokes and the Clark families. Bob’s choices in life always reflected his priorities of faith and family. He was an exemplary father and grandfather. He had a ready smile and a great sense of humor, exhibited to the very last of his life. He was a gifted teacher and story-teller and has been a sterling example to his posterity. Twice-daily family prayer was non-negotiable in the Clark home. He avoided pretense and never sought recognition. Bob and Verna have seven children, 37 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren. Forty one of their posterity (counting spouses) have served missions; it meant a lot to Bob that his son, Joe, and his granddaughter, Rebecca were also called to serve in Finland. Bob was preceded in death by his brother, Elden, and his son, Joe. He is survived by his wife, Verna; brother, Paul; children: Douglas (Mila) of Mesa, Arizona; Robert (Wendy) of Sandy, Utah; Terri (Gregg) Taylor of Provo, Utah; daughter-in-law, Janice (John) Quinlan of Sugarland, Texas; Lorri (Jim) Edwards of Henderson, Nevada; Jay (Jill) Clark of Orem, Utah; and Dean (Jill) Clark of Rocklin, California. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Monday, July 15, 2019 at the Oak Hills 6th Ward Chapel, 1960 North 1500 East, Provo, Utah. Friends may visit with the family from 8:30-9:30 a.m. prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Bob and Verna encourage donations to a worthy humanitarian cause. Condolences may be expressed at www.bergmortuary.com.
Robert Sevy Clark (May 17, 1924 - July 6, 2019) was born in Panguitch, Utah to Elden Dewey Clark and Pauline Sevy Clark, who were also born and raised in Panguitch. Bob’s 95 years of life have been focused on family, faith, and devotion... View Obituary & Service Information
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