Dr. James Wesley Clark passed away in Johnson City, Tennessee, on July 14, 2011, following a brief illness.
He was born in Danville, Alabama, on August 21, 1919, to Reverend Jesse A. and Hortense B. Clark. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dr. Winifred Bradley Clark.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served during World War II in the South Pacific Theater. He enlisted in November 1941 and was commissioned an officer in 1943. During his naval service, he was also attached to the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard. With the rank of lieutenant j.g., he left active duty in 1946. In 1956, he transferred to retired status as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
After leaving the service, he obtained an AB degree from Florence (Ala.) State College (now University), the MA degree from Peabody College in Nashville (Tenn.), now part of Vanderbilt University, and the Doctor of Education degree from Auburn University. He also completed other studies at the University of Alabama, Columbia University and Asbury College (Ky.).
Dr. Clark was a professor of history and Dean of Augusta (Ga.) College (now University). During his time at Auburn, he served as professor of economics and Dean of Southern Union College (now University). He enjoyed the distinction of having started two colleges from the ground up — from acquiring land to planning/building campuses, to hiring faculty and staff, to arranging for classes in area churches during construction.
In 1966, Dr. Clark opened the first Tennessee community college, Columbia State Community College, serving as acting President and Dean. CSCC was formally dedicated in 1967 by President Lyndon B. Johnson and First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson and Tennessee Governor Frank Clement. In 1969, Dr. Clark, as founding President, planned, organized, and opened Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tennessee.
In retirement, Dr. Clark moved with his wife to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was an active member of Church Street United Methodist Church, serving in various capacities with church and civic organizations. In 2003, they moved to Johnson City, Tennessee.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, the Reverend A. Summers Clark.
He is survived by his sister, Esther van Scyoc, of Dayton, Ohio. He is further survived by his children: Allison C. Burns (Dr. Richard M. Burns), of Birmingham, Ala.; Kristn C. Fry (John P. Fry), of Johnson City, and Randall B. Clark (Susan H. Clark), of Greer, S.C. He is further survived by six grandchildren: Adrienne Littlefield (John), of Memphis, James de Lathouder (Jeanne), of Birmingham, Amelia Fry (fiancé Andrew McCormick), of Johnson City, Miriam Markfield (Evan), of Chapel Hill, N.C., Samantha Hensley (Andy), of Johnson City, Rachel Clark, of Blacksburg, Va. He has one great-granddaughter, Chloe Littlefield, of Memphis; and numerous extended family members.
The family has scheduled a private celebration of life service. Interment will be at the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: the American Heart Association; the Johnson City Veterans Memorial Fund (P.O. Box 3594, Johnson City, TN 37602); or the Jeff Byrd Foundation (625 Market Street, Suite 1400, Knoxville, TN 37902).
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com or faxed to (423) 610-7177.
Arrangements for the Clark family are in the care of Tetrick Funeral Services, 3001 Peoples St., Johnson City, TN 37604. (423) 610-7171