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The Valley Loses A Voice: Mourning The Loss Of Greg Clark
photo providedGreg Clark
photo by Betty SabourinSeen here with Rita Armell and Gisele Sabourin at a 2011 wedding, Greg officiated for granddaughter Michelle, it is easy to see his love of people and humor
photo by Betty SabourinKeeping the groom calm and choosing the perfect tie for the occasion was one of Justice of the Peace Clark’s rituals before the wedding
Tuesday December 4, 2012
By Cookie Steponaitis
Addison County lost more than the voice of a passionate member of the House of Representatives when Greg Clark passed away early in the morning of November 30, 2012 following a traffic accident on Route 7 in Waltham. They lost a one of a kind original. Greg Clark was involved in their lives in many different ways as a teacher, Representative, Justice of the Peace, coach, mentor and friend, but all were touched by his heart, compassion and genuine flair for conversation that made just talking to Clark a treasure.
As a member of the House of Representatives since 2003, Clark had recently won his sixth term and was looking forward to returning to business in Montpelier after the holidays. A teacher for over twenty years and a part of the fabric of life at Mount Abraham Union High School for two generations, Clark brought to his students and constituents a rare combination of humor, personal integrity, knowledge and interest that made each encounter with him memorable. Many of his former students and friends also knew him in his role as Justice of the Peace and he joined the hands of hundreds in marriage making each service personal, poignant and included that extra special feature of his wit.
Always one to work a room or a crowd, Clark’s near photographic memory for faces and people carried beyond just remembering who you were. For Clark it was about knowing your story, history, and family and most importantly your role in the community he so proudly called his home. While he could talk to anyone for any reason and for any length of time, Clark had the wondrous ability to listen intently and closely to what each person was saying. No matter was too trivial and whether it was in the lettuce aisle of the grocery store, the parking lot, the Friday Night Fish Fry, his favorite Memorial Day Parade or Vergennes Day, Clark found time for all and took away from those visits a sense of what was on the minds and in the hearts of the people of Addison County.
The night before the accident Clark was in the hallways of VUHS stopping in to see his beloved wife of twenty years Eileen and was headed toward the door when he stopped and chatted with the custodian, secretary and two young track stars who were about to run the stairs for their evening laps. This reporter jokingly hollered down the hallway, “God, Clark, don’t you have some place to be?” Turning his head quickly and raising one eyebrow while getting that quick grin on his face, he calmly adjusted his tie and hollered back. “I’m wherever the people are, you know that.”
Indeed we do. It was not about politics, school districts, geographical boundaries or even lines on a bar graph delineating people’s incomes. It simply was about the people. He lived, breathed and craved the interactions that in today’s world of instant communication are so often overlooked. Clark might return your email in a few hours or even the next day, but when he saw you in person he focused all of his attention on your conversation, story and your thoughts on subjects ranging from sports to taxes and beyond.
Rest in peace Greg. The Valley Voice mourns your passing but honors your life with your greatest gift to us all. We are planning to sit down and talk to each other more and to share, joke, laugh and today to cry. We miss the man but we honor what he stood for, his family, his students, his constituents and all who call this special place and state home.
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