Ronald P Clark , VRHS Class of 1968

For the past month, Ron has battled COVID. Sadly today his body could not continue his fight. We appreciate all the prayers, thoughts, and touching displays so many of you have provided. It has been so uplifting to see the multitude of friends offering support from the reffing, hiking, softball, and political/community organizations. We truly did not know Ron had been a part of so many of your lives.

Many of you know Ron as a coach, a ref, a social organizer, a hiker, an Amtrak electrician, IBEW representative, musical appreciator, historical buff, and political devotee. When he was involved in something, he dove in with utter devotion. All of you experienced one of the best things about my father during these ventures. The love that went into what was in front of him. That is what we will miss most about my dad. His love.

The main focus of my dad's life was his family. He loved my mom. He traveled back and forth from Indiana to New York, convincing a Hoosier to come back with a New York street kid. No longer was he jumping between Chicago and NYC to pursue a law degree while partaking in socio-political community organizations, the October League, or some other positive social movement that many Americans fear without ever having an actual understanding. Rather, he found a job that he might not have loved. But, knew it would provide. He purchased a home in Troy for my mom. They had my sister and I. He once told me that when he met my mom and they decided to have children, it was all that mattered. And he did what he did best, he dove in with utter devotion. His kids became his focus.

My sister and I remember VHS tapes of soccer and softball training lessons. The cone drills down at the bowl. The ground balls off the pool wall. The cooking lessons or lack thereof, diet staples of omelets or oatmeal, pasta or grilled cheese, popcorn, or ice cream. The seriousness, that so easily would become goofiness. Watching Apocalypse Now at way too young of an age. How he avoided simple pleasantries, and embraced “Hey/Yo Brother” as his formal greeting. How a Dad with a mustache should never shave his mustache unless he wants to be disowned. The only time Ron cried was while watching Homeward Bound. How he was easily the best-dressed person at my sister's wedding, sorry Nicole. The night shifts he worked, sleeping for a few hours and waking to take us to our games or school events. The push to do something, and do it right. The belief that if you’re going to do something, you might as well put all of your efforts into it. The values and experiences he provided for us go on and on. The bottom line, he was just a good man.

My dad had a focused determination. He worked tirelessly for years. Making sure my mom, sister, and I were provided for. Recently I noticed a change. I could see it in his eyes, in his smile. He was starting to let go. Starting to relax. Starting to love again. He was finally beginning to appreciate the life he had created not only for his family but himself. He was finally accepting his retirement; except reffing soccer, he was never going to give that up. Four months ago he purchased a new home. My mom and dad were planning to continue their lives there. A peaceful retreat but a launching pad for countless adventures. He was excited to build a garden, watch the birds, use a snowblower on his first driveway, listen to every obscure jazz record he could find, game nights, dive into the newest book on socio-economic exploitation of capitalist states in the 21st century, make the unlikeliest of friends in the unlikeliest of places, bike every backroad, hike mountains beyond the ADKS, never miss another reffing assignment because it was the only time we saw him devastated, see in concert a Congolese drum band visiting from overseas, brew his one-millionth variety of tea, babysit puppies and spoil them uncontrollably, chase grandchildren around and push them on the swing set in the backyard, love his wife for another lifetime and watch his kids grow into the adults he knew they’d become.

The saddest thing about this situation is that my dad was about to experience a whole new life. But, we can’t forget the life he had, and we won’t. Physically he is gone. Mentally he will always be here. Whether it is a cardinal flying by, a bowl of popcorn with the perfect amount of butter and hot sauce, a hot cup of tea, “a whole lotta love out there,” a flag-waving uncontrollably but majestically for an offsides call, fireballs, zealous music, a straw hat, black licorice, toothpicks, bandannas, any hard-earned success in life, every bowl of pasta, an astute conversation regarding worldly politics, or a beautiful view from atop a mountain. You will be there for all of these Dad. We love you.

In the future, at a time when we can all meet, we’d like to have a celebration of Ron’s life for his family and friends. In the meantime, as a way of being here with us during these distant times, we’d appreciate a letter with any stories and photos you have of Ron. Though we can’t physically reach out with a visit, hug, or cry together we can still mentally be here for each other.

We ask that you send them to 9 Brier Ct Ballston Lake NY 12019.

Again Janis Clark, Nicole Clark Travis, and Griffin Clark would like to thank you so much for your support throughout all of this.

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