Life Story / Obituary
A Mooresville icon, John L. Clark was an involved and civic minded member of the community who gave his all and then some. A man who spoke his mind, he could be just as giving with his time and talents when it came to serving others. Above all, John L. deeply loved his family and will be long remembered in the hearts of many.
The year 1939 found Americans beginning to hope again as the United States began slowly emerging from the Great Depression. “God Bless America” was introduced, and moviegoers everywhere enjoyed the premieres of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind”. Even so, at a time when the country was looming on the edge of World War II, John “Hop” and Dora (Bergen) Clark had hope for the future as they welcomed the birth of their son, John L. Clark into their hearts, born on May 11, 1939.
Born and raised in the small Virginia community of Pennington Gap, he grew up alongside his brothers, Bud, Don, Jim, and Paul as well as his sister, Irma. Times were still hard for families making their way out of the Depression in Virginia, having come from a family of hard working farmers and coal miners. Life for the Clark family was one of simple pleasures where John enjoyed the adventures of boyhood along with learning a strong work ethic from an early age. He attended the local schools in Pennington Gap before moving on to make a life of his own in nearby Mooresville.
After moving to Mooresville, John worked early on for Automotive Armature, and also owned a tow truck which provided extra income for him. When he acquired a family, John, or John L. as he came to be known, proved to be an excellent father and provider. He was dedicated in all he did and very hard working, like his father before him.
Along the way, John L. came to work for the Mooresville Police Department in 1967 from which he eventually retired as a Lieutenant and Day Shift Supervisor in 2003. Over the years he served as a town council member and had just begun his fourth term at the time of his death. With a heart for the community he loved, he was also an avid civic leader involved in many facets of the political, social and economic scene in Mooresville.
His active role also included membership with the Masonic Lodge.
On July 28, 1979, John was united in marriage with his soul mate and best friend, Pat with whom he shared his life. Together they made for a good partnership and shared mutual admiration for one another. They blended their families to include eight children in all which often times made for a bustling household, but it never lacked the love of two parents who worked hard to make ends meet. Even though both John L. and Pat worked, times were tough and money didn't go far with such a large family. Ever proud and always the hard worker, they often joked, hoping for snow because then John would be busy with his tow truck which meant he treated the family to a steak dinner.
Although dedicated as he was, John L. held the persona of a gruff exterior, when in actuality he was just a big softy at heart. He could be quite charming and was lovingly affectionate with his family. Tough to the core and quite opinionated at times, he never backed down, but everyone always knew where they stood with him.
John L. not only enjoyed his family, work and community involvements, but he also took time to enjoy watching his all time favorite western movies and liked NASCAR. He often sang silly, made-up songs with his grandkids, some of which weren't the most appropriate, either! He also loved restoring old cars, but above all, he was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend who will be dearly and deeply missed.
On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, 2011, John L. was taken to the hospital and suffered a major heart attack the following day from which he could not recover. He sadly died, at the age of 72, on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Bud Clark, and is survived by his wife and best friend, Pat Clark; children: Jeff Clark, Bobby Massey, Michelle Robling (Tom), Debbie Mead, Patti Ratcliff (John), Sue Clark (Rob Sisk), Todd Clark, and Angela Webster (David); brothers, Don, Jim, and Paul Clark; sister, Irma Pence; 18 grandchildren. The funeral service will begin at 10:00 AM Friday, December 2, 2011, at Carlisle–Branson Funeral Service & Crematory, Mooresville, with calling there from 3-8 PM Thursday, December 1, 2011. Chaplain George Watkins will officiate, and burial will be in the Mooresville Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Churches in Mission. Please visit www.carlislebranson.com to share a favorite memory of John L. and to sign his online guest registry.