Amherst Magazine

Roger B. Clark '55

Deceased August 13, 2013

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In Memory

Roger Clark died Aug. 13, 2013, at his home in Hilton Head, S.C. Last fall Roger was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer.

Roger came from St. Louis to Amherst, where he majored in economics. He was a member of the choir and band, assistant editor of the Olio, on the Sabrina staff and in ROTC. Roger joined DU and served as its president.

In 1956 Roger married Barbara Speegle, Wellesley '56. Air Force Lieutenant Clark and his bride were stationed at an airbase in Germany. Upon returning to the States, the Clark family (now four, with the addition of two sons) moved to Cincinnati, where Roger joined Procter & Gamble. After he spent 10 years as a self-styled "soap guy," the Clark clan, now numbering six, moved to Connecticut, where Roger joined a marketing consulting firm formed by former P&G associates. He consulted for well known brands such as Pillsbury, Heineken and Wrigley. Fifteen years later Roger started the truly entrepreneurial phase of his career, operating from Westport, Conn., and, since 1995, from Hilton Head. He invested in and helped manage a variety of companies, including one that sold lottery programs to countries not on the tourist routes.

Roger was a lifelong tennis player and country music fan. He and Barbara traveled widely in this country and abroad. Through his church, where he recently became an elder, he was involved with various charitable organizations. Roger was calm, friendly, kind and generous. He was humorously self-deprecating about his many accomplishments and delighted his grandchildren with a "silly" sense of humor.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; a daughter, Cynthia '87; two sons, Steve and Scott, and their wives; and six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by son Gregory '80.

Norm Douglass '55
Henry Keller '55
Peter Wykoff '55

Comments

Roger was a classmate I always enjoyed his company whether at a Valentine, a classroom or around the campus. I will miss him.

Bob. 

In the summer of 1954, Roger and I went to Swarthmore College in PA as delegates to the DU National Convention. On our agenda was a directive from President Cole that we either accomplish getting the national fraternity “one person black ball” clause removed from the DU Charter or, the DU chapter at Amherst would no longer exists come the fall of ’54. A challenge for sure.

Many negotiations followed with DU chapters from within New England and, without going into detail of events at the Convention itself – the two of us returned to campus that fall having accomplished the removal of that clause from the Charter – to congratulations to both of us from President Cole.

This memory of working hand in hand with a fellow fraternity brother to accomplish a major goal has stayed with me forever

Barbara and I were pleased to spend a lovely day with Roger and Barbara at Hilton Head Island on our fall swing through the South in 2010 and that allows me now to remember Roger as I saw him then – his usual smiling energetic self!

Jim Brayer

I have a clear memory of Roger that, I'm guessing, is unlike any one else's. Roger was the President of our fraternity. One sunny afternoon, probably in 1954, I was on the sidewalk in front of our fraternity house, doing something or other, and I saw Roger emerge from the house and walk toward me with that usual friendly grin that he seemed to have for everybody. Then he stopped, detoured a considerable distance across the front yard lawn to pick up a small piece of litter, and put it in his pocket. He then proceeded to where I was standing to greet me. I remember wondering why he made that effort when the fraternity had custodian whose job it was to keep things tidy. For whatever reason, that small act of community, roughly 60 years ago, has stuck with me to this day. I have since, because of Roger, evolved into a litter freak. I pick up litter, not only in front of my house, but all along our street and in the park where I walk my dog. Sometimes people look at me strangely. I was once told by a guy in the park that he hated litter, but had never seen any one go to the effort of picking it up and putting in the park garbage bins. He told me that he was going to start picking it up himself. I'm sure there are many others whose behavior has been,directly (like me) or indirectly (like that guy in the park) been favorably effected by Roger's sense of community. I,personally, feel indebted.

Stan Kessler

So sorry to learn of Roger's passing.  He was a freshman South College dorm mate and a very fine fellow.

Our paths crossed long after Amherst in Connecticut, when I had a weekend house in Wilton and Roger was a not distant neighbor, in Westport, in the midst of his very successful career with an entrepreneurial group, Glendinning.  

I admired Roger for taking the road less traveled, for his family love and loyalty, for his character and integrity and his guts. He stood firm in the driveway of my Wilton home when, in the course of catching up, he told me he had lost a son. Roger always stood tall and straight, with a vision that was high, but never haughty.  He was a credit to our Class, our College and our human Community.  Though I was not recently in touch, I know Roger went bravely and not gentle into that good night.  My condolences to Barbara and all his family. I will miss the Roger I knew and the youth we shared, but I will cherish the memory of both.

-Seth Frank 

 

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