My friendship with Ad Clark dated from the 1990s when he came to Washington to search the national archives for information on lighthouses. He was writing his splendid book, Lighthouses. He asked me for research help and, feeling honored, I plunged in. The fascinating process led to my learning both about U.S. lighthouses and the national archives.
The positive part for me was to become friendly with Ad in all his salty dimensions. He was a man who knew his mind, said straight out what he thought, which made him well known among Cape Codders and others who prefer to live within sight and smell of the great waters.
Born in Schenectady, N.Y., and raised in Shanghai and Manila, Ad came to Amherst from Newton (Mass.) High School. His father was a General Electric engineer who died young, leaving considerably less than a competence.
During the second World War, he fought in the U.S. Coast Guard, later recalled for the Korean War, retiring with the rank of captain.
An author, teacher, instigator of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and a longtime faculty member of the Cape Cod Community College, Ad earned his master’s in education at the Bridgewater campus of the Univ. of Massachusetts in 1961.
Ad was predeceased by Ruth Francis, his wife of 66 years, and their son David. Ad leaves their daughter Susan and her husband Marty Shealey, daughter-in-law Lori Clark, three granddaughters, a grandson and a great-grandson.
Ad died at age 88 on Oct. 28, 2008, after a sudden decline.
In an obituary in a Cape Cod paper, Ad was described as, “A friendly, outgoing personality, he was always eager to share his knowledge and interests with any interested party. Eternally humming “The Eddystone Light,” he could wiggle his ears and had fiery liberal political views.”
—Louis P Dolbeare ’40