Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Program for memorial service

Dear family,
I am beginning work now on the program for the memorial. I plan to use 8.5 x 11 bifold format and put a photo of Dad on the front with DOB and DOD with words like "In Memorial". The interior panels will hold order of service. I am hoping to compose a photo collage for the back cover or maybe a poem or tribute. I will be looking for a suitable card stock to print it on and use my computer printer at home. Please let me know about program details that I can list. Thanks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I've re-arranged it and cut some bits.

The story of our father’s childhood has an idyllic ring to it, in spite of a number of tragic events that are part of that story:
Dad told us of making boats with his brother and sailing them in the cistern in the basement and on Keuka Lake, of trips to visit kinfolk in Rhode Island, and of working with his brother to make maple syrup and horseradish to sell. He told us of the private telephone line between the Scholes’ home and their own, of gashing his knee on the night his grandfather died, and of the bridge across the creek which allowed family members to go between the houses in which his extended family stayed. He told us of being ejected from a high school championship basketball game, of his sister who he loved so dearly, and many more things that I would love to share with you. I want very much to write a family history, because the list I’ve just given you barely scratches the surface. I’m glad I paid attention when he told stories, but wish I’d done so even more.
Dad’s father died of influenza, after already being weakened by Tuberculosis, when Dad was only five months old. This was especially tragic because his father, Ford Clarke, had been very active as a scoutmaster and Professor of Sociology, and lived a renaissance life for only 32 years. Ford had nearly died in a bobsled accident on Waterwells Road, and had told a friend to tell his future wife that he loved her, if he died. When he did die, the Alfred University class of 1921 erected a fountain on the village green in his memory.
Ford’s father, our great-grandfather, was also removed from Dad’s life by tragic circumstances, so most of Dad’s childhood influences came from his mother’s kin. Much of Dad’s fatherly influence came from his grandfather, A.B. Kenyon. A.B. had grown up in Rhode Island and was training to be a carpenter, but his parents had sent him to Alfred for college, and he ended up becoming a teacher and University administrator. He lived in Alfred for the rest of his life. Dad told us of all the many things A.B. built, from the house at 33 South Main Street to the garage at 150 North Main Street, and from the pipe “intercom” between the upstairs and downstairs apartments, to a desk with a secret compartment. Dad’s mother and brother and sister, and his grandparents all lived in the same house for much of his childhood – that house which A.B. and A.B.’s father-in-law had built in the 1870s. Grandmother and the three kids also lived in apartments in houses on Park Street and Terrace Street as circumstances changed, but they always returned to the old homestead on South Main Street.
Other men exercised fatherly influence on Dad, especially his step-father, Ahva John Clarence Bond, who was also an educator and administrator, but this came later in his childhood. Dad’s decision to enter ministry may have been prompted by his landlord when he was a student at Kansas State, but it was shaped by his step-father, who advocated ecumenism (the dictionary definition of which is “a movement promoting worldwide unity among religions through greater cooperation and improved understanding”). “Father Bond” as Dad called him, also introduced camping as a way of connecting people to each other, their Creator, and their environment. He also wrote splendid poetry.
A cousin and family friend, Lloyd Watson, took enough interest in Dad to buy him a flute. He taught Dad to play it, and helped him build a wooden box to protect it. You see the flute resting in one box here, but there is a second box beside it. You might wonder why. The reason is that our father was human. He made some sort of error in cutting out the dovetail joints in the first box, so there are small gaps in the joints. Dr. Watson was the man who had been the first in the world to inseminate a queen honey bee with instruments after being told he should take on some other achievable doctoral project. He had to figure out how to draw glass capillary tubes to finer diameters than had previously been done, in order to accomplish it, but he had done so in spite of “safe” advice, so we know he was an exacting and persistent man. He insisted that Dad start over and fabricate all the dovetail joints perfectly. The second box is really beautiful, but Dad evidently kept the first one to remind himself of something. Dr. Watson’s persistence was – in some measure – transmitted to our father. In his high school years, Dad worked in Dr. Watson’s apiary, and set out for Kansas State to study entomology before coming back to Alfred and entering the ministry.
Dad was raised mostly by his mother, and to her he gave much credit. She deserves it. She was a kind, generous, thrifty, hard-working, unpretentious, lovely woman who outlived two husbands and most of her friends and relations, and never knew an enemy. She had a wonderful sense of humor that was never expended for anyone else’s detriment, but Dad did inherit her Victorian stoicism. Dad endured the pain of a broken foot that was never set correctly, for fifty-five years, taking nothing more than the occasional aspirin to alleviate it.
Dad’s sister picked up in Sociology where their father left off, and was a rising star in her profession when she died of surgical complications. She was an especially unique woman, and we might not have known of her largest struggle had not our grandmother finally spoken of it, fifty years after the fact. Dad’s “big sis” was the one who mortified her brothers by stripping to her underwear – which I’m sure, in the 1930s, covered her from ankles to chin – and joining them and Alex Landis and her boys in the creek one hot summer day, down at “The Ledges” on McHenry Valley Creek.
Dad was valedictorian of his high school class and graduated cum laude and with departmental honors, from college. He was a good calligrapher and was very capable at designing and drawing things. Dad could make things from wood, starting with sailboats that were blown across the surface of the cistern in the basement of the family home, and ending with his help in building our house out at Five Corners. He bought a camping trailer in Colorado in the 1950s and adapted it to our family’s needs, several times. He called the trailer Jonah, and I own it now.
Dad did not assume that his religious beliefs granted him any favor with the Almighty. His beliefs were things that were continually scrutinized and re-evaluated for weakness. His faith was a contract which obliged him to a lifetime of diligent labor, and he fulfilled his contract, just as he did his marriage vows. He spent days and nights in anguish, wrestling wisdom from the events and choices he confronted, and he pushed his lean, long-boned body and his perspicacious mind far beyond the endurance of other mere mortals. I know he got at least some of this drive from his father, because Dad’s uncle Clarence wrote a letter saying “Last summer I thot [sic] many times that he [Ford] was trying to do many times more than I could try to do without wearing out.” Dad was a man who, once seated, could nap almost anywhere, anytime, but he was – until only perhaps six months ago – the last person to go to bed and the first one to arise in the morning.
Dad believed in God, but ascribed both male and female attributes to God. He accepted scientific understanding of evolution and other natural processes. I think he came to believe that natural processes are not just evidence of God’s presence in a Universe larger than our imagination, but that they are the very workings of the mind of God. He would not limit God to any less than all that the Universe embodies. He did not believe in Satan, because he felt such a belief let humans off the hook for their own weaknesses and hampered people from responding creatively to their shortcomings. He understood that people are not perfect and he made allowance for all kinds of faults, but he also believed that people must always be perfecting themselves with God’s assistance and in company with other humans. He understood that philosophy and theology are methods of increasing our collective understanding of the Universe and our role in it, much like the scientific method. The book that Dad was trying to write was all about trying to understand more broadly how individuals are responsible FOR themselves and TO each other, and how to use their “moral energy” to improve relationships. I hope I can do him justice in editing and publishing his manuscript.
Dad’s faith was not something he put on, just on week-ends. It was integral to his being. It was not anything he paraded in public or used as a weapon against others, nor was it something that placed him above anyone else.
Dad claimed “scotch” heritage, but, from all I’ve been able to learn, it may have been more due to growing up as the child of an extraordinary single parent during the Great Depression than to biological legacy. Certainly all of his ancestors were a thrifty sort, and Dad could take something that someone else would throw away, and make something useful of it, from a plastic jug that ended up as a lamp shade, to rubber innertubes that he cut up and used like bungee cords
Dad epitomized what is best about the word liberal – that is to say, generous. He worked tirelessly for all kinds of people; he gave his scarce money to causes that seemed important, from workers’ rights to wind power; he gave his time to helping others, from visiting people in nursing homes and jails, to building houses. He worked many hours at the Harvest Center in Prattsburgh which provided resources for migrant workers. He delivered Christmas turkeys and gifts and clothes and food to those workers for many years, and he managed the Alfred Food Pantry for a long time. He took care of his mother and aunt, and his cousin, “Mike” Kenyon and Annamay Langworthy and Bob Place and our mother and Ethel and plenty more that I don’t dare take time to list. His efforts ranged from international peace initiatives to helping Alfred neighbors get along.
Dad was a creative thinker who often went over people’s heads in the ways he could associate concepts and layers of meaning. He could write and read a eulogy for even someone that everyone in the audience might know was “kind of a stinker” but do so honestly, without sugar-coating or ignoring the person’s weaknesses, but in a way which honored their goodness and integrity in whatever measure it could be found.
He was often called upon to remove bees from homes, and saw it as an act of reconciliation to take the bees and set them up in a hive in a place where they were welcome. My siblings may not know this, but if the Low-level Radioactive Waste Disposal Siting Commission had taken a different route on that cold day in April, 1990, Dad would have been one of the ones chained to a bridge, preventing radioactive waste from being dumped in this county. He was perhaps happier to let his good friends Clarence and Warren and Bill and Alex get their names in the paper, but he was ready to do his part.
We, his family, have perhaps sometimes felt that we came second to neighbors and strangers, but Dad was only living up to the commitments he made. We knew he loved us and we know it still. We know that he struggled with his choices like we do, and that he filled his life with living for all kinds of people.
I believe Dad gave a sermon from this very pulpit many years ago that used Matthew 23:11-12 as the text, which says: ”But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. Dad spoke of water as a way of understanding this teaching. He said that water, under the influence of gravity, is like the good and righteous woman or man under the influence of God’s will for humanity: it seeks the lowest place for itself. He understood how useful humans can be if they, like water, will wash away dirt and contaminants, and transport nutrients as they seek the lowest place. That was how he lived.
Dad was an optimist, but he was much more than that. Dad knew that the air in the “empty” part of the glass contains water in the gaseous state. Our father was not just an optimist who believed in people upon whom everyone else had long-since given up. He was an anti-cynic. When an organization called “Another Mother For Peace” produced posters that said “War is not healthy for children and other living things” he felt this was too much a negative statement, so he made posters that said “Home-grown peace showers its fruit on every Neighbor” and gave them away.
Dad was a sometimes paradoxical man: he was a pacifist who sometimes used a rifle and bow and arrows; he was raised a teetotaler, but learned to like wine in his fifties because his friend – probably the first black man in the nation to do so – opened a winery. Dad was a man with some conservative values but was also a man with willingness to think broadly and reconcile many paradoxes without losing his integrity. He was trained in evangelism, but resisted efforts to evangelize that placed more emphasis on results than on relationships. He was a man who continued to adapt his thinking to new information and new ways of understanding the world, continually adding to and deepening his wisdom. He could usually see all sides of an issue, to the extent that choices were sometimes extremely difficult for him to make.
By the end of his life, I believe Dad was virtually unable to express his deepest feelings, because he was so practiced at adjusting himself to others’ needs and desires. He could express frustration, but he almost always aimed it at himself, sometimes taking blame for things that no human can rightly assume. But that was because he refused to stop trying to find the good in people.
Dad loved to swim and sail and walk, and even walked with his grandson and me on a short stretch of the Finger Lakes Trail, last September, but the foot he broke in 1952 that never healed properly kept slowing him down, over the years. He had been known in earlier years, to ride a horse without getting saddle-sore, much to the consternation of a family friend who wanted to tease him about it.
Dad and Mom had talked about buying passage on a freighter and traveling around the world, but never got around to it. After Mom died and he married Ethel, they traveled around to see friends and family for as long as they could.
I think Dad’s chief pleasures, after doing something for someone else, were talking with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, admiring the good fortune of a friend or family member, eating a meal at a restaurant (his treat), ice cream, and naps.
Dad spent his life worrying more about the people around him than about himself. He loved his life, but he didn’t cling to it. He took advice ascribed to Jesus: “Greater love hath no man than that he give his life for his friends”. Dad counted every person he encountered among his friends, and he spent every day giving his life for them.
We, his children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and friends, know Dad earned some relaxation, but he kept pushing himself until he could do no more. When he could do no more for someone else, taking care of his own needs gave him little to do, but he insisted on doing it. When he began to have difficulty taking care of all his own needs, he just wasn’t interested in going on. We wanted him to live as long as he could, but he didn’t know how to live unless he was useful to someone else.
Dad, especially in the last few years, sometimes mused upon how the world might be different had he continued studying and working in entomology and carrying on Dr. Watson’s work of “Building a Better Bee”, but I hope he was well pleased, at the end.
Dad had a fierce independence, even though he yielded his own desires to others’ needs and desires most of the time. When he lay for a week and a half with a broken femur and then after a partial hip replacement, last month, he would not ask for morphine. We had to ask for it for him. We wished he would stay on longer with us, but I think he chose death over dependence. He chose the manner of his dying, in spite of us.
When we were quite certain Dad was in his last hours, he had a faraway look in his eyes. I told him I hoped that what he was seeing was a sunny day with a good sailing breeze and worker bees busily harvesting pollen and nectar from buckwheat blossoms (buckwheat honey was one of his favorites). I told him I hoped that he saw autumn leaves in sunset colors and that they were pressed into books and cherished, as our mother used to do. I told him that perhaps now he could go and be in the company of our mother and his sister and mother and brother, and all the others he out-lived here. I told him I hoped he could go meet the father he had never known. I told him his was a much-deserved rest.
I hope that our father, who art in heaven, is in a place like that, for if it was ever appropriate to be said, it should be said of him: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My latest message to the famn damily

Hi Everyone,

We have 50 Stearns chicken dinners scheduled to be picked up before 5:00 on Sabbath, for (mostly) family to consume at the Parish House.

We need to know what to expect as far as lodging for folks.

We figured the Baums could go to 33, or perhaps to the Prophets if no-one else needs their house. What will your arrivals and departures be?

Carol and Barb will bring their RV and park at our place, right? Also bringing David and Star and maybe Jim Crumb. They may return the same day, but C&B stay?

The Tim Clarkes will stay at Oglesbees, arriving Friday and returning Sunday.

Steve and Bobbe will be here only for the service and perhaps the reception.

Likewise the Edwardses, Bob and Lois.

Gwynneth (elder) will come with Jim and Rima, and maybe Ruby, staying at Oglesbees.

Gwyn (younger) will come with Max and 2 children, not sure where they'll stay yet.

Sherm will come to the hill until after the service, then he'll stay at 33 for the next week.

Bert, you and Mike and Sue will probably come together, but don't know when nor for how long. Mike and Sue, how about the pop-up camper, at our place? Bert in a sit-up seat in the RV, or our recliner? Sherm in the RV with Bert.

Kim and Brian will probably drive their own car -- how long will you stay?
Would you like to stay in the RV with Bert and Sherm, or at Donna's, or the Prophets' house?



Thursday, July 26, 2007


Since I didn't chime in on this sooner, just thought I'd mention that I'm in favor of the the idea of the Fire Dept. folks ushering in uniform.


Memorial Program and Sleeping Arrangements

Hello Everyone,

I think the obituaries look excellent.  You did a great job of editing both versions, Doug.

Staying at 33 sounds good to the Baumgartens.

As far as the program, Mom and I were planning on doing two songs together, Eili Eili and Ki Heim Chayeinu.  I'm going to check on optimal transliterations;  are we planning to put translations in the program?  I plan to speak and I believe she does as well.

For the original piece I'm working on, it will just be me and my guitar (or backup CD, depending upon how it works out;  Doug, I will contact you about technicalities).  Bert, I appreciate your offer to play piano, and I will talk to you about other pieces for Vespers, etc.;  I definitely want to do something that incorporates flute for later.

I have expressed concerns to Mom about fitting everything in, and I'd like to get everyone's feedback as far as both the order and whether we should try to fit everything into the service or save some of it.

I propose that we sing Ki Heim Chayeinu after Judy Frechette, and then Eili Eili during the "Other music or tribute" section.  I'm not sure I want to do my song right after I speak (and I may well not be in a condition to right then), so maybe we can put it near the end, perhaps in the reminiscence section before Pastor Pat.  If we're doing the New Orleans-type progression to the more joyous material, it will fit better toward the end.

When do we need to complete the program order and text by?

Love to All,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

short obit. ($362.50 was too much)

This is the version I'm sending to the Hornell Tribune. The long version would have cost $362.50 to run in that paper. The long one should run in the Alfred Sun this week, and in the September Sabbath Recorder. Now I'm going to bed.

Reverend David Stillman Clarke died in Sayre, PA., on July 11, 2007. David was born to Agnes Kenyon Clarke and Ford Stillman Clarke on March 3, 1919 in Hornell, N.Y. David’s father died from Influenza later that year, so David and his two older siblings were raised by their mother and their grandparents, Alpheus B. and M. Veola Kenyon.
After graduating as class valedictorian from Alfred Union High School in 1937, David attended Kansas State University and studied entomology for one year. In 1938, David transferred to Alfred University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts from Alfred University in 1941. In Alfred, David met Frances Catherine Polan. He married her on May 31, 1942.
David spent one semester at the Graduate Theological School at Oberlin College before returning to Alfred, earning a Bachelor of Divinity from the Graduate Theological School at Alfred University in 1944. He was Missionary Pastor to the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Jackson Center, OH for the next year and a half. David was ordained a Minister of the Gospel on June 7, 1944, just six months before the Clarkes’ first child was born.
In 1945, David took a position as Assistant Missionary Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society, necessitating a move to Westerly, R.I. The Clarkes’ first son was born in there in 1946, then a daughter in 1949, and another in 1950. David was promoted to Executive Secretary of the Missionary Society in 1951.
From 1951 to 1955, David served as pastor of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in New Auburn, WI. He was also active in an effort to start a church in the Twin Cities. In 1955 David was called to the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Boulder, CO., where the Clarkes’ second son was born. David was active in programming for a camp operated by the church. David next served as pastor, from 1961 to 1963, of the Seventh Day Baptist Church at North Loup, NE., and was involved in the camping program there. In 1963, David was called to serve the Seventh Day Baptist Church in his hometown, Alfred, N.Y., where his eldest daughter was at college. He continued in this capacity until 1970.
David was Executive Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education from 1970 to 1976. In this capacity, he worked to create and promote resources for Christian camping and church school programs. He edited the denomination’s Bible Study guide, The Helping Hand, in 1974.
From then on, David and Frances cared for his elderly mother and great-aunt, then an aging cousin and several family friends. With all their children grown, the Clarkes took in student boarders from China and Tunisia. David served as caretaker and trustee of Camp Harley Sutton, and continued to be active in church and community affairs. He did volunteer work with the Allegany County Office for the Aging, managed a Food Pantry and helped his youngest son build his house. Cancer ended Fran’s life in 1998, after fifty-six years of marriage.
David married Ethel Davis Dickinson two years later, and had moved to her home in Fort Mill, SC., but returned to Alfred when she moved into assisted living, in 2006. David worked on the manuscripts of two books for several months until his own health began to fail, leaving editing and publication to his children.
David was pre-deceased by his father Ford Clarke, who died on August 23, 1919, his step-father Ahva John Clarence Bond, who died July 26, 1958, and his mother, Agnes Bond, who died on October 7, 1985. He was also pre-deceased by his sister Mary Roberta Clarke who died September 16, 1939, and his brother, Ford Kenyon Clarke, who died April 12, 1999. His wife, Frances died on April 19, 1998 but his second wife, Ethel, survives him. He is survived by all five of his children, Roberta Ellis of Queensbury, N.Y., D. Sherman Clarke of New York, N.Y., Cathy (Bruce) Baumgarten of Syosset, N.Y., Carol (Barbara Crumb) Clarke of Branchport, N.Y., and G. Douglas (Jeanette) Clarke of Alfred Station, N.Y. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Kim (Brian) McKay of Cambridge, N.Y., Michael (Sue) Ellis of Rumney, N.H., Michael Baumgarten and Ilana Baumgarten, both of Syosset, N.Y., and Ian Clarke of Alfred Station, N.Y., and three great-grandchildren, John, Kate, and Lucy McKay of Cambridge, N.Y.
A service of remembrance and celebration will be held at 1:00 on August 4th, 2007, at the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, N.Y. A reception will follow in the adjoining Parish House. Interment will be at Alfred Rural Cemetery, at a later time. Condolences and other communications may be sent to the family at 33 South Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802 or dsclarke3319@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, New York, the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education, or the Alfred Rural Cemetery Association.

Copy of e-mail I just sent

Hi Bert and everybody else,

I'm answering these points with what we'd come up with here, not as fixed choices.

I would love to have Alec play something else, but haven't gotten any specific suggestions otherwise and haven't had the time to find something else. Got an idea?

For a hymn, I had thought of This Is My Father's World, but we could do Dear Lord and Father . . . and Pam Bucher will accompany sung hymn(s) on the piano.

As a prelude, I've asked Diane to play a series of hymns that we won't sing to, and she's good for that -- she seems to have the most trouble when people are trying to sing along.

Larry Philbrick will play another piece on the organ during the service, as a reflective moment.

I had thought we might use one of Dad's prayers, but I haven't found one that works, yet. I may have seen the paraphrase of James yesterday.

I'm working on a tribute that I will read.

Yep, I will be fine for a while and then I'll get all choked up, and then be ok again.

Arrangements for lunch between church and the service are pretty well set (subs and stuff in the Parish House kitchen). Same for the reception refreshments (cookies, mints, etc.), and we'll hire someone to do the supper (Cafe Za, or Stearns chicken?).

At the reception, I thought we'd have pictures of Dad, the laptop with a projector showing a slide-show of pictures, his flute and the boxes he made for it (I'll tell that story), and some other items for people to see.

We'll greet people in the second parlor, and the food will be set up in the far corner of the dining room, so that people will be drawn into the rooms and not get backed up in the church or outside the Parish House, etc.

If there's room in it, I thought we'd use the guest book from 33, for people to sign.

If the weather is nice, I thought we'd touch off a bonfire and hang out in our yard, after supper. People can camp out here or head to the Prophets' or Rogers' houses.

The order of service we've sketched out so far looks like this:

Organ prelude (medley of hymns) by Diane Straight
Bell tolled by GDC or Ian
Greetings by Pastor Pat
Unison reading of the 23rd Psalm
Tim Bancroft's tribute
Reading of Dad's life story
Jude Frechette singing a song, or Cathy and Michael
GDC's tribute
Singing of This Is My Father's World
Other musicx or tribute?
Organ music by Larry Philbrick
Time for other reminescences
Closing thoughts by Pastor Pat
Mizpah Benediction (May the Lord watch between Me and Thee, while we are absent, one from the other"
Bagpipes (Amazing Grace?)

Let me know what you think . . .

Jeanette and Cathy worked on putting all the cards that have come in, into chronological order, and we'll make a card for each of us so we can work our respective ways through them without losing someone else's place. Cathy brought the ones that had come to her. There are lots of them between hers and what came here, and some are very nice.

When everyone comes, we thought the Baums could all stay at 33, or at the Prophets' house if preferred, Sherm can stay in our RV, Carol and Barb are bringing their RV to our place (right?), and Bert can sleep in a recliner at 33 or our place or Prophets', Mike and Sue can camp if they wish or stay in our RV, and Kim and Brian et al can stay with the Rogers. Tim and Diane will stay at Oglesbees' house in Wellsville, as will any of Steve and Bobbe's kids. Steve and Bobbe will drive home the same day. Gwynneth and anyone who comes with her will stay at Oglesbees'.

We will ask family to park at 33 or the empty lot next door. Others will park at the Montessori School or Community Bank parking lots.

Ian is better, after having a rash from sun exposure while taking amoxicillin. Jeanette is ok. The Subaru is supposed to be done tomorrow, then the Blazer goes in for repairs and the van for an oil change. I've been approved for varicose vein removal.

Sherm, I need you to go to Steuben Trust Bank and add me as a signer for the House account (some of the money from Steve Clarke and some from Cathy was deposited today).

I've also been working on notifying people who need to know. Sherm, you'll need to call the utilities (there are 800 numbers) at some point -- I was thinking we'd put the utilities in your name and convert one of Dad's checking accounts so you and I are co-owners. The "house account" is a savings account. Anyway, we'll work all that out. . .

What am I forgetting?


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This is the one that went to the Alfred Sun

Reverend David Stillman Clarke died in Sayre, Pennsylvania, at 3:25 pm on July 11, 2007. He had successfully undergone a partial hip replacement surgery after a fall, but succumbed to pneumonia.
David was born to Agnes Kenyon Clarke and Ford Stillman Clarke on March 3, 1919 in Hornell, New York, although the family resided in Alfred. David’s father died from the combined effects of Tuberculosis and Influenza later that same year, so David and his two older siblings were raised by their mother and their grandparents, Alpheus B. and M. Veola Kenyon. Kenyon was trained in carpentry in his youth, but had become an Instructor, Registrar, Dean, and (twice) Acting President of Alfred University.
Although he had never known his father, David nevertheless followed his pattern of being very active in church and civic affairs. Dr. Lloyd Watson, an Alfred University chemistry professor who was the first in the world to successfully inseminate a honey bee queen using instruments, was a father figure for David, encouraging him to do things well. David’s step-father Ahva J.C. Bond, was also a strong influence on him. Bond was Dean of the Theological School at Alfred University, was a promoter of ecumenism, and introduced outdoor camping as a form of Christian Education to the Seventh Day Baptist denomination in the 1930s. These themes continued throughout David’s life.
David worked in Dr. Watson’s apiary with Watson’s son, Huber, during his high school years. After graduating from Alfred Union High School in 1937 as class valedictorian, David hitch-hiked to Kansas State University and began studies in entomology. After one year there, David became convinced that he should enter the Christian ministry, so he hitch-hiked back to Alfred, where he met Frances Catherine Polan, whom he married on May 31, 1942. David earned his Bachelor of Arts from Alfred University in 1941 and Frances graduated the following year. She was a minister’s daughter and enthusiastically supported him in his career, as well as in numerous charitable endeavors.
David spent one semester at the Graduate Theological School at Oberlin College before returning to Alfred, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological School at Alfred University in 1944. He was Missionary Pastor to the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Jackson Center, Ohio for the next year and a half. David was ordained a Minister of the Gospel on June 7, 1944, just six months before the Clarkes’ first child was born.
David next took a position as Assistant Missionary Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society, necessitating a move to Westerly, Rhode Island. This resulted in David, traveling alone in what must have been a blizzard, more than once getting stuck in deep snow. The Clarkes’ first son was born in Westerly in 1946, followed by a daughter in 1949 and another in 1950. David was later promoted to Executive Secretary of the Missionary Society.
From 1951 to 1955, David served as pastor of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in New Auburn, Wisconsin, where he drove a school bus, kept bee hives, and did farm work and carpentry to supplement the family income. He was also active in an effort to start a church in the Twin Cities.
In 1955 David was called to the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where the Clarkes’ second son was born. There, David helped a rancher friend, Paul Hummel, take salt to cattle grazing in the Rocky Mountains, spending a few days in the saddle and camping out. The rancher’s daughter was disappointed that David was not saddle-sore upon their return. David was active in programming for a camp operated by the church, on land donated by Hummel.
While in Boulder, the Clarke family took in a student refugee from the Hungarian Revolution who had narrowly escaped execution in his home country. They helped him learn to speak English and adapt to life in the United States. He is a successful inventor, engineer and business owner.
David next served as pastor, from 1961 to 1963, of the Seventh Day Baptist Church at North Loup, Nebraska, and was involved in the camping program there.
David was called to serve the Seventh Day Baptist Church in his hometown, Alfred, New York in 1963. His eldest daughter had already attended one year at Alfred University, living with her grandmother in the home where David had spent most of his childhood.
David weathered the tumultuous 1960s as pastor in Alfred, allowing the youth of the church to use guitars and participate in worship. David worked actively with college students, challenging them to think for themselves but respect others’ opinions in open dialogue. He directed camp sessions for all ages at Camp Harley Sutton, and was lifeguard for several camping seasons. The summer garden at the parsonage was turned into an ice-skating rink in the winter, and young people often came to visit the Clarkes.
David was President of the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference for its 1968 session, choosing the theme “Yoked by Christ In Missions” for the proceedings held at Kearney, Nebraska.
David’s father had been the first Boy Scout Master of the Alfred troop, and David was a Scout Master while living in Wisconsin, joining the Order of the Arrow. David and Frances were both active in local efforts to assist migrant workers in Steuben and Allegany counties, working with people of other faiths in this and other work. David helped found the Alfred Lions Club chapter and was an early President.
David was Executive Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education from 1970 to 1976. In this capacity, he worked to create and promote resources for Christian camping and church school programs, as a way of connecting people of all ages with their environment, each other, and their Creator. He edited the denomination’s Bible Study guide, The Helping Hand, in 1974.
During these years, David and Frances and their youngest child moved into the house David’s great-grandfather and grandfather had built in the 1870s. This enabled them to care for his mother and aunt as each of them neared or surpassed their hundredth birthday. Then they cared for an aging cousin and several family friends.
With all their children grown, the Clarkes took in student boarders from China and Tunisia, enjoying the contact with other cultures and people. During this time David served as caretaker and trustee of Camp Harley Sutton, and continued to be active in church and community affairs. David did volunteer work with the Allegany County Office for the Aging and managed a Food Pantry.
When their youngest child returned to Alfred and began building a home, the Clarkes helped with construction, gardening, and caring for their youngest grandchild. David enjoyed teaching his younger son and grandchildren about bees and how to manage their hives.
Cancer ended Fran’s life in 1998, after fifty-six years of marriage, five children, five grandchildren, many friendships, and many years of service to all kinds of people.
David married a widowed friend, Ethel Davis Dickinson, two years later. She had served as denominational secretary, and her first husband, Harmon Dickinson, had been in theological school with David. Both men had served as pastors of Seventh Day Baptist churches, and the two families had sometimes lived in the same region at the same time.
At first, David and Ethel spent half of each year in each other’s homes, but when her health declined, they stayed at her home in Fort Mill, South Carolina year-round. David looked after Ethel until she moved into assisted living near her daughter in August of 2006. Since he was still fairly healthy, he moved back to his home in Alfred. David worked on the manuscripts of two books for several months until his own health began to fail, leaving editing and publication to his children.
David was pre-deceased by his father Ford Stillman Clarke, who died on August 23, 1919 and his mother, Agnes Kenyon Clarke, who died on October 7, 1985. He was also pre-deceased by his sister Mary Roberta Clarke who died September 16, 1939, and his brother, Ford Kenyon Clarke, who died April 12, 1999. His wife, Frances died on April 19, 1998 but his second wife, Ethel, survives him. He is survived by all five of his children, Roberta Ellis of Queensbury, New York, D. Sherman Clarke of New York, New York, Cathy (Bruce) Baumgarten of Syosset, New York, Carol (Barbara Crumb) Clarke of Branchport, New York, and G. Douglas (Jeanette) Clarke of Alfred Station, New York. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Kim (Brian) McKay of Cambridge, New York, Michael (Sue) Ellis of Rumney, New Hampshire, Michael Baumgarten and Ilana Baumgarten, both of Syosset, New York, and Ian Clarke of Alfred Station, New York, and three great-grandchildren, John, Kate, and Lucy McKay of Cambridge, New York.
A service of remembrance and celebration will be held at 1:00 on August 4th, 2007, at the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, New York. A reception will follow in the adjoining Parish House. Interment will be at Alfred Rural Cemetery, at a later time.
Condolences and other communications may be sent to the family at 33 South Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802 or dsclarke3319@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, New York, the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education, or the Alfred Rural Cemetery Association.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

bawling and numb

Carol, I feel like I'm the obverse of your bawling. I walk around as if I could move but feel numb and despondent, trying not to take it out on my office mates. As I described to Doug, office behavior here is like the dysfunctional family with several kids at the grocery store: cans flying, shouts, sullen obstruction of progress, carts full of candy. I started reading your blog entry just a few minutes before I was supposed to do a session on series entries for the copy catalogers. I almost had to tell Susan I just couldn't. It seems to matter so little, in the grand scheme of things.

I too think the planning so far on the memorial service seems to be going right with a mix of stuff that makes sense because Dad would like it and things that are more for us (bagpipes, "Saints"). The schedule sounds tight but ok.

Cathy called yesterday morning just about the same time I was reading Carol's and other blog entries, at the same time I was thinking about the series session. Part of me wanted to pack up my stuff and rush to the airport and sit on her lap. Being Gemini or parallel polar, or melancholic, I excuse myself these two paths. Doug, I am so glad you are finding Lincoln's melancholy interesting.

I came over to the office to work on my ALA report. So far, the only part that's done is the part I did on Carol's computer in Sayre. The attachment in RTF did open fine on my PC at the office. If you want to delete the file on your computer, Carol, that's fine. With any luck, it will be an old version anyway.

As I look at my calendar right now, I think I'll come up on the 3rd and stay at least a week. There's something late in the day on the 2nd (not incredibly urgent but I've said I could be there: "interview" with a new dual degree library science/art history student to determine appropriate mentor who will probably be the fine arts librarian, I'm not the chair or responsible for the meeting) so I won't come up until morning of the 3rd.

Love to you all and wishing I could be in Alfred right now, in the bosom of the family.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

update on planning


I responded to Carol's entry at the blog, too.

I think Alec MacCrea will be able to play bagpipes, but am not sure yet. What do we want him to play? Bagpipes tend to be best out of doors, but he could be on the porch and be heard very well, I think. Maybe the church is big enough for indoor pipes.

I'll want to ring the steeple bell.

How about the fire department doing ushering (in uniform)?

Church at Alfred is 11:00. Not sure if it's 10:30 or 11:00 at Alfred Station.

I haven't looked into organists yet, but Amanda Snyder is booked for the wedding. Don't know about Laurel Buckwalter, and I don't favor our current organist, as she isn't terribly smooth. Ok, perhaps (?) for church but not for this. If nothing else, perhaps Pam Bucher on piano -- she's wonderful.

I'll see what can be arranged for The Saints . . . there is a CD player and cassette player connected to the church sound system.

After all my hurrying to get the obituary to Dave Snyder, he didn't get it into this week's paper. But that was ok in the end: We got all in a panic yesterday when Jeanette was asked about when Dad's memorial was to be, and Amanda Snyder said she was playing in a wedding in our church on August 4th. Pat B. didn't have it on her calendar, but had a contract from months ago for the wedding to be held there then. She apologized profusely and we puzzled about whether to change the day, do it in the evening or earlier than 2:00, and so on. We worried about parking, and worried about how the wedding family would respond. I finally spoke with them this morning and came up with the following:

They don't have many decorations for the wedding, they will be dressing elsewhere, and they will be doing most of the photographs beforehand at the grandmother's house, so it won't be as complicated a switch as we feared. The wedding is at 4:00, so we can start the memorial at 1:00 (we'll arrange for lunches for family and church folks at the Parish House as soon as church is over at 12:00) and move to the Parish House by 3:00 -- we can just make an announcement and start herding people that way -- and I think things will be fine. We will arrange for parking at the Montessori School and bank and the old bowling alley parking lots. I suppose quite a few people will just come for church and then for the memorial, so I think we should just put on a quick meal.

Does all that sound ok?

I did some calling and learned that Dad still had two life insurance policies in place, not just one, so I'm waiting for instructions to come in the mail.

I've heard from Becky Prophet: they will be out of town but will send something by e-mail, and she offered their house for people to stay up to a week. I need to get her message and some others posted at the blog.

I also heard from Uncle Bill Turck. He sent a letter I'll share with you later, and a check. He said he wanted to give money to us for caring for Dad, rather than a memorial.


Dad's quiet spirit

Family all,
Carol writes of missing Dad. I sat shiva for him, in my own way. I wore the same clothes for the week, at least not freshly laundried ones. On Tuesday, July 17, at 3:25pm I got out of bed, better understanding how Dad's body must have rebelled against the inactivity for the week he was in traction. I miss his physical presence, but know that the body was worn out. His gentle, peaceful spirit is still here. The world is a better place because of him. I still cry for the pain of the loss I feel as a daughter. I shall say Kaddish for him for the year.
Some of my friends at work collected money and wanted to know where I'd like to have it sent. I wasn't sure what to say. Would it be all right to send it to a peaceful cause? Any ideas?
I was reading Doug's poem for Sherm. How true, how true. I definitely admire Sherm's adventurous spirit and courage to travel the world and the City.
Ilana was talking yesterday about life, independence, relations between stubborn personalities like hers and her father's. She said our phychiatrist believes that Bruce could survive in any circumstance, because he has a PhD and scrapiness. Not so, me. I'd need help. Michael and Ilana, thank God, could make it too, because they have some of that scrapiness.
What will we do about the wedding at the church at 4pm on Sabbath, August 4? Will it interfere with the Memorial being held at 2something and being done before people would need to be in the church? I hope that it won't be a problem.
More later,
The middle Daughter

Death of "Pop" hitting me hard

Am I the only one who is being hit hard with Dad's death? I am balling my eyes out right now. For three days I could not get out of bed, though I did for short periods. Was it strep throat or my grief? Is it just because I am an unmedicated manic depressive or what? I feel so lost and so alone though I am not. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled. There does not seem to be anything that can distract me from the pain. I try to be busy, do things but it all seems so hollow. The weather echoes my mood with long quiet rains and occasional thunder and lightning. It hurts so much.

Monday, July 16, 2007

city boy, country boy

For my brother, Sherman

Motion into poetry,
we walk together, my brother and I --
frequently turning: this
corner, past that alley;
dodging the others making their
own, individual ways;
walking ferociously,
unwinding the maze.

I'm trying to find the me that fits the city --
am I suited for the streets?
I'm here in the midst of a hectic vacation
from the moss-covered,
forested desperation,
which those of us hide so well,
who live "in the sticks."

Today I am unleashed upon the city
but it needn't fear my intrusion.
I'm too much the fish upon dry earth
to walk these streets with abandon
as he does,
so I just come to visit.

I'll observe and just pretend to know my way;
I've come to dip my toes in the pool,
but don't care to swim.

... and, so, my brother
can come to the country
to taste water from a spring;
but he'll leave it to me
to plant the garden and cut the wood.

He can count on me to try and keep the water clean.

G. Douglas Clarke
29 August 1995
[posted here by the hereinmentioned city-dwelling brother]

home again

Bert and I got to the train station with plenty of time for a cup of coffee before the train took off. My train was originating in Albany so it was on time (6:15). The next earlier train from somewhere North was about an hour late (leaving AFTER us rather than most of an hour before) so I'm glad it was sold out. By the time I got on my train, they said it was sold out too. Most of those upstate weekenders must make their reservations at the last minute or maybe it sold out as the word of the earlier train's delay got around.

I didn't go for a walk in the woods this morning but I've got some good memories of a walk in the woods and lots of other moments of celebration of Dad's life and the family he leaves behind.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My thoughts

I showed Carol this entry into my journal yesterday (Thursday), and she thought it was worth sharing with family, so here it is.
"Carol's Dad, and the man I called Dad as well, passed into the world of Spirit yesterday at 3:25 PM. On this day I lit a candle in his honor, and called on the elemental spirits and the Lady and the Lord to welcome him to the land of Spirit. He was one of the gentlest, if not the gentlest, person I have ever had the honor to know. I sat here this morning mourning his passage perhaps more than my own parents. My mourning for them was marked, at least in part, by duty, but my mourning for David Stillman Clarke seems to represent pure love. I honor the man. I honor his life. I honor all whose lives were touched by his gentle love. Let this light from a single white candle be a call to all of us that his spirit remains with us."

Memory Book

Dear family,
I am working on a memory book about Dad. I would like contributions from each family member that wishes to participate. You could write up a story about Dad, Gramps, GGramps. You may have a drawing, poem, pressed fall leaves, favorite photo, or anything flat that you would like to add. The book (or it may have to go to part 2) will also contain cards, notes of sympathy and such. And I thought we would let people write in it at the memorial service too.
Thank you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

deb kruse's comment

These words from my friend Deb Kruse who now lives in Iowa but who was the slide curator at RISD when I was there. I had a 50th birthday cake in her back yard on the way to Cape Cod with Bill. Last summer (when I turned 60), I stopped in Providence to see her, see the new RISD library space, and have a little birthday cake. When I was there, I took her on a tour of the ritual pictures from Memorial Day 2006; she was intrigued by the pictures as images as well as by the story.

And I quote:

You may be on your way to Alfred by now and not doing email so thanks for letting me know, Sherman - I am thinking of you anyway. It was only last summer that you celebrated birthday(s) w/ your dad on that slanted lawn in Alfred + we looked at the pix online - have thought of those strong images since.

It was good that you had last week - each trip to Davenport I think that one day we won't do that anymore either. [Her folks live in Davenport, a relatively short distance from Iowa City where Deb lives with her sister.] In the meantime, we do. I also happened to send you a note yesterday w/ New Yorker article from last summer that informed/tickled me re W Benjamin. Send me a note when you get back re memorial - will be here if you need me (whacking forsythia among other things)...

Love + sympathy from Deb.

David S. Clarke

Our S's weren't the same but there's lots of Dad in me. Little movements are evocations of Dad. I took a walk over to the Hudson last night after leaving the office. As I was walking home, I swung my arm in an exaggerated way and, somehow, it reminded me of Dad's motion. This may be partly because of being around Dad so much last week. It's weird but that was probably the most time I'd spent in Dad's immediate vicinity for years. I get similar evocations of Mom though less frequently now than the first year or so after she died. As Doug said the other day, putting together a list of thankyous was rather Mom-like.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

not melting inside

When I first read the email about Dad coming "home" to the Southern Tier, I was feeling pretty good. I then finished up the NYU day and came up to MoMA for my moonlighting. It's now about time to leave MoMA so I thought I'd check the blog. The last few entries were a mix of encouraging and discouraging: mostly encouraging about financial matters but discouraging about Dad. The lack of interest in food doesn't surprise me a whole lot (though omnivorous, eating has never really mattered to Dad). Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised about the lack of acceptance of assistance, especially from known persons. Still, the temper tantrums seem weird though I certainly saw him clench his fist several times last week.

When I put on the subject line "not melting inside," I was mostly referring to the fact that it's actually pretty chilly here inside the MoMA offices and it was pretty chilly at NYU too. It feels good to go outside and get warm. That delight in the warmth doesn't last a whole long time. I don't have air conditioning at home which is fine. My upstairs neighbor has a poorly draining a.c. unit which drips into my window ledge unless I keep the window pretty closed. That's annoying.

Of course one could also take the "not melting inside" as metaphorical or allegorical. Inside me, it feels more like a meltdown than melting ice cream. I dream of sitting on Doug and Jeanette's hill and watching the sun go down. Jeanette, I was so sorry to hear about your deer collision.

Mundane and Melting

Dear family all,
Barb and I just returned from Hornell where I had an eye appointment today. We saw Jeanette's Subaru at Friendly's as we pulled into the parking lot after trying to get my eyeglass prescription filled. So we found Jeanette and Ian inside and shared the table though our meals were out of sync, ie "J" was eating ice cream before my dinner came. The heat and humidity were overwhelming even the AC in Dr. Greenberg's waiting room and in the restaurant. It is pretty hot when the air conditioned restaurant melts your ice cream faster than you can eat it! It was nice to have a routine meal and do mundane things.
I hope all of you are well. I am looking forward to having Dad closer to home.
Much love and hugs,

Some memorable names

I know I sound like our mother, and I don't mind, but I hope those of you who were here can help me with this list of people for whom I'm grateful. I'll add names and edit as you respond to this "starter" list. As much as I did not like this trip, I find that I will miss some of the good people here, and I'd like to be sure we send a message after Dad is home.

Here's the starter list:

All my family members, near and far.
The ambulance crew from Alfred
Folks at Jones Hospital
Folks at St. James Hospital (I can't remember a single nurse's name, now, but may with some refreshing of memory)
Dr. Sheik at St. James
Rachel at St. James, who found Dad's ring and called me.

Brianna Marie, and her parents and grandparents
Dr. Cohen, surgeon
Dr. Priya Joseph, MD
Dr. Steven Goldberg (every time I run into him here at Sayre, he asks how Dad's doing), cardiologist
Chelsey Gilbert, RN "dream"
Mary RN
Sheila RN
Ron, sitter and person with "presence"
Beverly Jackson, Social Worker

Respiratory care, Dr. Vemula and a release schedule, and Chelsey

When I finally got to see Dad this morning, the respiratory technician and trainee were there trying to get him to lie on his back and do some deep breathing, but he was not cooperating. He was clinging to the bedrail and mostly mumbling, and they had put him back on oxygen because they were getting Oxygen saturation (SPO2) numbers in the low 80% range and his nail beds looked dusky. By the time they were done, they figured that the sensor was just not getting a good reading (he was reading in the high 90s when they put it on his earlobe), and that his coughing was producing the result they wanted. A nurse was trying to put in a new IV because he had pulled one out, when Dr. Vemula came (I'd requested that they page him so we could consult) and said that a new IV was not necessary. He explained that Dad seems to be sensitive to morphine so they're switching him to Tramadol for pain. I told him I'd inquired about hospice care and he was quite reticent to make any declarations about Dad's longevity, but suggested taking things a week at a time, and leaving those things to people who look after Dad in the future. I told him that was fine.
The social worker came at about that point and inquired about discharge, so we've tentatively set up 11:00 tomorrow for his release to rehabilitation at Wellsville Manor, but nothing is final, yet.
I let the helper feed Dad his lunch, because he did not seem to take my suggestions yesterday and was not very receptive to me today. He did speak to me and knew who I was, but was not able to tell us if or where he hurt, very effectively. He was decidedly not interested in lunch, and the aid said he had not eaten much breakfast.
As I headed down the hall to go to the bathroom, I ran into Chelsey, who inquired about Dad of course. She is such a sweetheart, and it put tears in my eyes to talk with her, thinking of all we have been through and how she helped.
Anyway, I wanted to let you all know the next latest. I'll update you again later.

Hospice info.

I had a nice dinner at the Original Italian Grill, with Carol and Barb last evening before they went home, and then I chilled at the Bri Marie until I nodded off.
When I came down to breakfast this morning, I was told that I needed to move to another room. When I had offered on Sunday, Bri had declined, thinking that she would not need the two-bed room (Harris). Anyway, after I got breakfast and got moved across the hall to Hayden, I got a return call from Mary Gardner Ruch at Allegany County Office for the Aging, and she gave me information on hospice.
Then I went to the hospital and they were washing him up, so I came to the lobby and called the hospice office: Cathy Attison told me that with a Doctor's referral he can be admitted to hospice care, which includes home health aids, volunteers to visit, a social worker, respite care (they would move him to the hospital for this), and overall palliative care, including prescriptions for his congestive heart failure, which they bill to Medicare. We could do this whether he were at 33 or in the RV at our place. Medicare pays them for all services, and Dr. Coch is a director or something, of the Hospice service.
Now I've got my second cup of coffee and had a nice chat with a woman working away at her laptop, about hospice and aging and such.
I'll head up and see Dad and have Dr. Vemula paged so I can talk with him about when Dad my be transferred.
Anyway, that's the latest.

It's all real

I haven't had a chance to get back to my everyday life, but I assure you that where I am is very real.
Carol and Barb and I were talking about the money situation, and what we came up with is that Medicare should take care of a lot of stuff and Barb will help me apply to Medicaid for more of it. We'll also apply for charitable assistance, and we'll work out arrangements for the rest, either to pay on time or whatever. We agreed that we want to keep the stocks so that 33 can stay in the family. I figure renting out the upstairs apartment and using the 1st floor as a museum/family history research center, etc. will help pay bills and allow the house to be a useful place. There is still room for Sherm to live there in retirement, and other arrangements can be made, if needed. My remarks about not knowing how to pay for things were not despondent, but were said out of lack of information, some of which Barb has provided. We'll work through the rest of it.
The other part of all this is that none of us feel up to taking care of Dad around the clock, and doing so would deprive the caretaker(s) of being able to enjoy his company. Add to that the fact that he seems to resist help from family members, and you get the picture. Barb believes that in-home hospice qualifies Dad for Medicare coverage, whereas nursing home care would mean that all Dad's assets, even those transferred within the last 3 years, would have to be liquidated to cover the expense. Anyway, I think there's light at the end of the tunnel, and I think we can work it all out. It will just take some doing.

is this real life?

I put in more or less a full day at the office yesterday (Monday) and mostly just hung out in the evening. Did get the dishes done, with Shostakovich symphony in the backgroung. Also got some mail pushed from here to there. Still kind of in a daze or haze but that may be partly the heat on top of everything else. The afternoon meeting went ok but otherwise I was able to set the agenda. Today will be different with TechHeadsPlus (the managers in Technical Services) this morning. "Real life" intervened mid-sentence and folks have started arriving, with questions and problems.

The financial situation is troubling but I guess that seems rather rock/hardplace too. I have been wondering if an equity loan on 33 makes sense, or more sense than spending down the stock.

I thought I was going to be able to do some of this but the "real life" is screaming at me. Hope to get back to this before going to bed tonight.

Monday, July 9, 2007

More questions from Cathy; more answers from Doug

Cathy, and everyone else,
I offered to Bri to move to a single room but she declined. I didn't have Blue Moon, not even dinner. I just vegged and answered the phone.
Yes, I met with the social worker this morning and suggested McAuley Manor and Wellsville Manor; she's just starting the application process to places near home, and I signed the authorization for her to do so. I gave her info. about our ambulance so they can be lined up to take Dad home when he's ready.
Carol and Barb came late morning, so we've split up the time with Dad and we had lunch together.
When I called Jeanette she told me she was taking Ian and Rein to James St. Park in Hornell and a deer jumped out in front of her. She had a garage check the car, filed the police report, took the boys to the pool, went to State Farm and filed a claim, and then went to Maple City Garage for an estimate. I don't blame her for saying "if one more bad thing happens, I'm going to lose it".
We consulted with Dr. Suresh Vemula who took over Dad's case from Dr. Priya Joseph, and he spoke of Dad's heart condition and how they can't really fix that, so we can try to help him get some strength back and have some good days, but not expect a lot. He told us how he's trying to balance all the medicines to minimize all of Dad's complicated problems, but feels he's 85 to 90 percent ready to move to a rehabilitation facility. So it could be in only a day or two.
Carol wondered about in-home hospice, so I tried to contact Mary Gardner at Allegany County Office for the Aging, but she's not in the office today.
Jeanette is feeling like we can't take care of Dad, so maybe he was more right-on about a nursing home than I realized. I don't know how we'd pay for that, even with help, however. I am not yet sure how we're going to handle the expenses from the two hospitalizations, as it is. I would like to have the stocks be an interest-earning principal against which money can be borrowed for family and house (33) contingencies, etc.
I just had dinner with Barb and Carol. Barb thinks that if we apply for in-home hospice, they take Medicare as paid in full, and that they don't look at asset transfers retroactive 3 years if you go for nursing home care. So maybe we can work something out.
Anyway, I'll deal with today's troubles before I try to deal with all of tomorrow's.


I was talking with a Southern India co-worker about Dad. He suggests playing to the senses for connection for Dad. What Dad is passionate about, like music or chocolate or words- make sure he hears or tastes or communicates in such a way that he finds life worthwhile.

Pop, Pop, Pop

Doug, J, Ian, the whole family, too--
Glad to hear Dad's continuing to improve. Much love and hugs to all in the vicinity of Dad and his hospital room.
Did you get a chance to visit with the Social Worker? Hope that goes well, and a Rehabibitation Facility is readily available. My thoughts are with you.
How's Bri? Did you get a single room?
Wish I could go to Rock n' Doc's for a Blue Moon with you!
I came to work after about five hours of sleep. We dropped Sherm off at his apartment around 1am. I pretty much fell into bed after we got the luggage carried inside from the car. By 7am I was awake and got dressed. By 8:15 I was out the door.
It was a quiet week at my office, thank goodness, so I didn't miss much. Now I have to reorient to 'patients' of another kind than Dad is.
More later,

More get well wishes for Dad

----- Original Message -----
From: Mary Johnson
To: G. Douglas Clarke
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 8:19 PM
Subject: Re: not much to update yet on David Clarke

Hi Doug,

Thanks for letting me know about your dad. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with you, your family, and him. I will pass on some information I found helpful that I heard Dr. Bernie Seigel say one time on a tv program.

"Treat a hospital like a war zone. Never go in unless you have to, and when you do, never go in without an ally, and then get out as quickly as possible."

During my husband's many illnesses, I used that information time and again. You'd be surprised how much better the care if your "ally" is watching to see what is happening. My husband even went so far one time as to leave the hospital "AMA" (against medical advice). He was a heart patient and often refused to follow the surgeon's recommendations. They told him he couldn't live without doing what they were recommending, but he did for a long time anyway. Of course that was after two bypass surgeries. They wanted to put some stents in and he wouldn't let them. It sounds to me like you are your father's best ally. Good for you! Don't abdicate your own best judgment to any professional. You know him much better than they. I pray that you and your family will have the wisdom to be able to discern what is best for your father. Thanks for keeping me informed. We'll be praying for you here in Riverside. :-) Mary Johnson

----- Original Message -----
From: Alphelan2a@aol.com
To: clarkedj@frontiernet.net
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 8:44 PM
Subject: Re: David Clarke and the Baggs family

Dear Doug,

I'm very sorry to hear about your father. I hope he gets the strength to have the surgery and then progresses well. Also, thanks for the information - and for whatever additional material you can get. Along with the memories, photographs (of course) would be wonderful.

Do keep in touch and my best wishes for you and your father.

Andrew Phelan

Original Message -----
From: SuemervD@aol.com
To: clarkedj@frontiernet.net
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 9:02 PM
Subject: Thinking of your Father


We were very sorry to hear about your father's injury. You have our thoughts and prayers. Please tell David we hope he is not too uncomfortable and that he has a full and speedy recovery.

With our love,
Sue and Merv Dickinson

----- Original Message -----
From: Chroniger K & P
To: G. Douglas Clarke
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 5:59 AM
Subject: Re: not much to update yet on David Clarke

Keeping your Dad in prayer saw him yesterday morning stay a while as he faded in and out. Told him I would see him again soon proably Wednesday.

Ken Chroniger-----

Original Message -----
From: Klingensmith, Mark
To: G. Douglas Clarke
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 8:59 AM
Subject: your Dad and family

Doug, We'll be thinking about all of you and hoping your Dad improves and is able to get the help he needs for recovery. I know it helps in many ways to have someone like you watchng over him. Give him a big hand squeeze for us and everybody else an extra hug. Mark, Kasey, Isaac

----- Original Message -----
From: Braack, Craig
To: G. Douglas Clarke
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 9:13 AM
Subject: RE: not much to update yet on David Clarke

Thanks Doug. I was at Sally's house and heard the call and figured what happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. regards, crb.

Hi Pam,
Thanks for your support.
He has made it through the first night without incident, and seems relatively comfortable.
We sent Jeanette and Ian and Carol and Barb home to check on cats and friends and houses and such.
We'll be in touch.
You do the same.
----- Original Message -----
From: Pam Williams
To: Doug & Janette Clarke
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2007 9:55 PM
Subject: Re: a little update on David Clarke


What great news! I’ll pass it along to my mom and dad (if they are not aware yet). We all thank God for His mercy and grace to all of you in this time of uncertainty and keeping watch together. Thanks, Doug, for being our spokesman/our liaison/our bringer of glad tidings!! May He fill you with His strength, peace, and joy in the tender bonds of His love. We are so encouraged by this wonderful report of hope and surgical success. Our prayers continue for all of you who wait so lovingly with him through this amazing ordeal.

God bless! In love and prayers, Pam & Stan

----- Original Message -----
From: Martire, Patricia E
To: G. Douglas Clarke
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 11:41 AM
Subject: RE: David Clarke

I am so sorry about your Dad. I know how hard it is to decide what to do. I went through that with my mom. A person gets to a point where he cant take it anymore. It has to be so difficult to realize that you can no longer do the things you have always been able to do. You get frustrated. I lost my dad over 32 years ago but that doesnt mean I dont miss him any less. You were so blest to have had your dad as long as you can. With this kind of decision, there is no good answer. I wish you all the luck and will be thinking of you all.
Take care. Oh and thanks for the info on the Internet.

Patty Martire
Alfred University

----- Original Message -----
From: Teresa Johnson
To: clarkedj@frontiernet.net
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 4:00 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: David Clarke

I wasn't sure if Pastor Joe's email got to you so I am forwarding it. I hope you don't mind!
All praying here in Waterford for David and his situation!
Lots of Love in Christ,
Teresa Johnson

Note: forwarded message attached.

Hello Pastor Joe,
Thanks for the good wishes. I'll share them with him today as he continues to recover.
Doug Clarke
----- Original Message -----
From: JoeJoyS@aol.com
To: tere.johnson@sbcglobal.net
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: David Clarke

Dear Bro. Doug.

Good Day. I regret to learn of the accident of your frather, resultiing in his hospitalization with a broken hip. Please convey to him my personal sympathy as well as that of my family and my church family, the Plainfield SDB Church Tell him we are all prayting for him and shall continue to do so in the future. We pray for a successful and a speedy recovery.

His good friend and brother in Christ,

Joe A. Samuels.

Monday morning

Dad's new room-mate at Sayre Hospital had visitors this morning, including a granddaughter who complained that he had been moved from another ward without explanation nor notification. I re-assured her that the same had transpired with Dad.
Steve and Bobbe Clarke came yesterday while we were out to lunch, so we only talked on the phone. Steve said (on the phone) "if he is improved, I'm glad I didn't see him before". Sherm went home with Cathy and Ilana and Michael and Audra and the pup at supper time yesterday, so I "vegged" at the "Bri Marie Inn" in between phone calls from Cathy, Tammy Burdick (from the Fire Co.) and Jeanette. I had reviewed Dad's medicines and status with Sheila, his nurse yesterday evening, so I know he's being given morphine for pain, amiodarone to prevent tachycardia, an anti-seizure medicine, and one or two others, including nitroglycerine (just during the daytime), although I didn't learn about that one until she was applying his patch this morning.
The speech therapist worked with him this morning because he was having difficulty swallowing, and then I helped him take pills by spooning thickened orange juice to him. Then I showed him some pictures, including ones of Memorial Day.
Carol and Barb called and then came, about 30 minutes ago, so Carol and I are catching up with things in the lobby.
I'll make another entry after we meet with the doctor, etc.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Back to Bucolic Branchport

Dear family all,
I am glad to have had a night's rest in my own bed for the first time in days. Sayre was beautiful and all but there is no place like home. The weather has been so gorgeous - sunny, warm and breezy. Even though the temperature is climbing, the breeze is keeping the air moving making it really is lovely sitting out in the yard with a tall cold drink weather. It was so beautiful last night with the fireflies. Home is great tonic for me right now as I do not tolerate seeing Pop in pain well. Hell, I don't handle stress of any kind well. But we know Dad is an especially sensitive area for me. You all know that my psychotic episode happened when Dad was at Roswell. I did not want to go there again and all the signs were in place. So gettign home was a necessity. Buddy was soooo happy to see us that I thought that he would have a heart attack! Even the cats were glad to see us back. Last night after a nap, Barb and I saw the new Robin Williams movie and laughed our heads off. It was good medicine. Today we plan to lay low as the temperature is expected to reach the nineties here. To all of you waiting at the hospital with Dad, thanks for keeping the vigil. Dad really feels better when he knows he is not alone. Being alone in a hospital when you are the patient is not a good feeling. I know first hand. I love you all. My medicine is being home in beautiful bucolic Branchport and it is working its magic with my mood better than any pyschotic drug. PTL and pass the ammunition! Just being silly which means it is time to sign off! Hugs all around. Carol

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Get well wishes for Dad


I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with your family at this difficult time.

Mary Ruch (Dad worked with her in Office for the Aging, etc.)

Thank you.
Our major desire over the weekend was to spend a full day with Mom. It had crossed my mind that inviting Pastor Dave for a picnic with Mom, Judy, and I would be fun for them and fun to watch. It was suggested that Dave was ""not doing well" which in my mind made it either impossible or imperative. I regret having opted for "impossible". I appreciate knowing that they had such good time together last week. Thanks for that understanding. The four of them, our parents, were so very important for each other for so many years, no decades, it was a pretty amazing set of relationships!
Love to all in your family.

"G. Douglas Clarke" wrote:
Hi Evan,
I'm sorry we missed you. Jeanette was staying with Dad at his house while I was with Ian at Camp Gorton.
I regret that I did not get over for a good visit before your Dad's passing, so I understand. Life is far too busy and complicated, so we have to manage what we can. Your Mom and my Dad had a nice chat at Becky and Craig's S. Main picnic a couple days ago. They were a pleasant picture: Dad in his wheelchair, leaning in to hear what your mother said from her lawn chair, nodding and touching hands occasionally. I had talked with Becky about trying to arrange some joint outings for our repsective progenitors, but success in doing so may not be possible.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. If I know of something else that needs to be done, I will send word along to you. If you would like to send specific greetings to Dad, send them to dsclarke3319@gmail.com. I'll take it from there.
Thanks again, and I'll give him a hug for you, if that's ok.
----- Original Message -----
From: E Butts
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 9:35 AM
Subject: Re: David Clarke

Thanks for letting us know about this Doug. I'm sorry for your amazing father's injury and accompanying pain. I'm sorrier, still, that I was in town over the weekend and considered, yet failed miserably, stopping by to at least hug him and say hello.
Our thoughts and prayers are with him and you. With what other needs may we assist? Please let us know.

Thank you for sending detailed news. I am sorry to hear this news. Patty and I send our best wishes and have your Dad and all of your family in our prayers.


Seton Droppers

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: David Clarke

Dear Doug, my warmest thoughts and lots of love go out to Uncle Dave and
the family.

I am in Ithaca now as my defense is tomorrow at 11 am. I will say a
prayer for you guys.


Ruby Sue Beil

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 2:09 PM
Subject: RE: David Clarke


I’m saddened to learn of this development. Your family, David, and all concerned are in my thoughts.

David’s fall and its consequences will present you with a vexing set of choices, especially if he did not execute an advance directive and is not able to communicate his wishes now.

With deepest concern, Peter Clarke

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 3:47 PM
Subject: Re: David Clarke

To Dave & Doug & family,
Thanks, Doug for giving us the sad news. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Dave, we thought you'd like to know we just finished a great week at Camp Joy. David & Christina Thorngate came out to be the Director & Camp Pastor, had a great staff from here with some of our "new" young adults who haven't had church camp experience before so they could have the on-the-job training. The week ended with a beautiful baptism in the River (planned before camp, as we like them to be). We're into the second week now with a nice group of junior-middler campers (elementary school age) with Marissa Van Horn (Robert's daughter) and Amanda Graffius (Don's daughter) in charge. So the SDB camping legacy goes on--alive and well in West Virginia where, if we have our history straight, it all started with one done by AJC Bond in 1930 though we think there was one two or three years before that.
Love and prayers for your comfort and healing.
Janet & Dale Thorngate

----- Original Message -----
From: jochanaan@zcloud.net
To: G. Douglas Clarke
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 6:21 PM
Subject: Re: David Clarke

Thanks for telling me, Doug. I've forwarded the email on to Martha and Carol,
and asked Martha to tell my mother, who doesn't have email; I know they'll all
want to know.

I hope he's healing well, and that everyone else is okay. God bless,

John Rasmussen

Monday, July 2, 2007

Here's the message I sent out . . . more later.

Dear Family and Friends,
Our dear father, David Clarke, fell this past Saturday evening and broke his left femur just below the hip joint. The staff at St. James hospital in Hornell, NY may recommend transferring him to another hospital for that surgery, but he's not a great surgical candidate, due to congestive heart failure and a murmer, so a partial hip replacement would be risky at best. We're waiting for them to perform and analyze the results of an Echo-Cardiogram (and other tests, perhaps) sometime later today, and then will probably have difficult decisions to make.
Medications for pain have left him pretty "loopy" so conversation is complicated at best, but we will be standing by with him. Some of my siblings are coming later today to join Jeanette and Ian and me in taking care of things and seeing Dad, but the future is very uncertain, and I wanted you to know. I know he counts you among the many people he loves.
Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would like to know. I know I've left some out and that not everyone has e-mail, but I wanted to at least get this done before I head to the hospital. I'll take the computer with me and try to find somewhere to connect, but I will probably be out of touch for most of the day, since cell-phones are prohibited there, too (but I'll run out to the parking lot periodically). The telephone number at the hospital (for now) is 607 324-8957, and my cell-phone number is 607 769-0769, or at home: 607 587-8358. He's in the surgical ward on the second floor, if you come to the hospital.
Thanks to all the folks who responded on the ambulance when he fell and when he needed transferring from Jones Hospital to St. James. Thank you to all the folks who have offered help and prayers.
Doug Clarke