November 19, 1941 – October 2, 2019
John Stanley Clark was born in Mahaska County Hospital, Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Nov. 19, 1941….. 2 1/2 weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked. His dad, Clarence W. Clark, was the baker at a Dutch bakery in Pella, Iowa. His mother, Evelyn M. (Sowder) Clark, often assisted Clarence at the bakery. There were two older brothers awaiting John’s arrival. Thefamily moved back to Chariton, Iowa, when John was a toddler. Clarence had developed an allergy to flour dust and went to work for the Burlington Railroad.
John went to the old Columbus School, Chariton Jr. High, and Chariton High School, graduating in 1960. To extended family and neighbors, he was Johnny Clark…..loved and respected. His strong work ethic meant he had multiple odd jobs, from baling hay to delivering the Chariton Papers to bagging groceries at the first Hy-Vee Store on Chariton’s Square. John’s fulltime employment spanned a variety of vocations from Crane Operator for the Rock Island Railroad, to Chariton Police Officer, to wearing multiple hats in the trucking industry.
His co-workers on the railroad marveled at his skill and precision in moving rails and ties over their heads. One highlight during his two years on the Chariton Police force came when he and his brother, Dwaine (also an officer at the time), apprehended a fugitive from a Missouri corrections facility. An APB bulletin had come over the radio and they spotted the stolen vehicle at the Conoco Station just east of the square. Working as a team, the inmate was taken into custody without incident or shots fired.
John worked in administration for two large trucking companies, Brooks and Jacobsons, but he preferred being behind the wheel in a semi. He often took a load himself on his days off to unwind and relax. He decided after about 8 years, being in a suit behind a desk wasn’t worth the stress. He did cross-country trucking for a few years prior to driving for Hy-Vee Food Stores. That switch allowed him to be home with his family most nights. His best friends were fellow drivers. After retirement, he talked with them on the phone nearly every day.
John’s first love was his family. Growing up with an abusive father, who abandoned his family when John was an adolescent, left scars. But it also made him determined his children would never suffer the same. John married in June 1963 and had three children….. John Dale, Karmel Dawn, and Tonya Jean. After that marriage dissolved, he married Maria Elena Solis in March 1985 and adopted Monica and Adrian. Together they had Kylie. They were all his children, never hers, mine and ours.
John was not an outwardly religious man. He despised hypocrisy. But he accepted Christ as his personal savior on Nov. 6, 1949. He was baptized by Rev. Leonard Fardon on October 26, 1952. It would be accurate to say John exhibited godly character. He could be impatient and bark, but he always blessed and expected the best from his family. He was preceded in death by his firstborn, John Dale Clark (October 2001), his sister, Elizabeth (1951), father Clarence (1962), mother Evelyn (1974), brother Donald (1993), brother Dwaine (2001).
Surviving are his wife, Maria Elena, his beloved children: Karmel (John) Kemper, Chariton, Iowa; Monica (Walter) Hitt, Derby, Iowa; Tonya (partner Thad Tracy) Giesken, Norwalk, Iowa; Adrian Clark, Austin, Texas; Kylie (partner Rod Engblom) Clark, Oak Park, Ill. and his 10 grandchildren whom he adored: Braden Hitt, Brooke Hitt, Victoria (fiancée Jay Stremel) Giesken, Aerial Giesken, Alyssa Giesken, Dylan (Ashley) Kemper, Dalton Kemper, Trinity (Alex Hunt) Kemper, Dominick Kemper, and Dawson Kemper. Also surviving is his younger brother, Paul (Beth) Clark – Stanhope, IA; and his sister, Marilyn (Dave) Duda, Hazel Green, Wisc; multiple nieces and nephews; loving cousins; extended family and friends. Thank you John, Daddy, Papa…for loving unselfishly.
The family wishes to express thanks to Kavanagh Hospice House, Des Moines, and John Stoddard Cancer Center at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, as well as Lucas County Memorial Hospital staff. A visitation was held Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton. A memorial service was held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home. Interment was at Mt. Zion Cemetery.