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First Name: William

Last Name: Clark

Birthplace: Lindsay, OK, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Clayton

Date of Birth: 29 June 1916

Date of Death: 22 November 1990

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served:
William Clayton Clark

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


William Clayton Clark
Private First Class, U.S. Army
World War II

[Information provided by his son and adopted daughter.]

William Clayton Clark was born on 29 June 1916 in Lindsay, OK, to Andrew and Nannie Clark.
When he was 12, during the dustbowl in Oklahoma, his family traveled west to the orange groves of southern California. He was the oldest of 3 brothers. Lloyd was the middle child and Delbert was the youngest. William and Lloyd looked very much alike. (In his later years he was visiting his brother, Lloyd. A neighbor came over and was startled. "Lloyd, I just saw you leaving the house!" "No, that's my Brother Bill.") Since times were hard, William dropped out of school in 5th grade to help support the family.

William was raised with Sheb Wooley, who was several years younger. Sheb wrote the 1950's song "The Purple People Eater" and created the character of "Ben Colder." He remained William's good friend throughout his lifetime. When William moved to Alaska, Sheb would come stay with him. When he visited, he always included William's family in his shows.

Military Service

PFC William Clayton Clark was one of the few survivors that made it off the island of Iwo Jima after the first attack. He was knocked out and pulled out from beneath the dead bodies that covered him. William suffered from survivors guilt and would never speak of the war or the battles he went through.

All three of the Clark boys enlisted in the military during WWII and were all stationed in different parts of the world. By coincidence, they were all discharged the same week. Their mother removed the star from her window that indicated that family members were away at war. Their father, "Pop," was quietly thrilled that his boys were all home, safe and sound. So one day, the first week they came home, the brothers painted "Pops" car pink! Grandpa came home from work, saw his car, and in his Oklahoma drawl, calmly asked, "Now what ja'all go and do that for?" He was just glad to have all his boys home safe and sound. They could have done anything at that point and gotten away with it!

About the same time, William went to a USO dance. He came home from the dance and told a story of meeting a gorgeous red head. She danced like an angel and he was walking on air. Two weeks later they were married.

Post-Military Life

Bill and his wife moved to Sacramento. She worked in an office building in Sacramento while he built homes. One day, the Postman came into her office and was ashen white. She asked, "Vic, what's wrong"? He replied, how do you go about adopting a baby out?! She replied, "We would love to adopt the baby." [The balance of the story is told by Molly, the adopted daughter.]

That's when I came into existence. They always told me I was special since they had "chosen" me. When other kids would tease me about being adopted, I would tell them, "My Parents chose me, your Parents got stuck with you!" Mom and Dad also encouraged me to look for my biological family and last year I found them.

As soon as I was adopted, my Parents left California and moved to ALASKA! Dad was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in the Civil Service. In his spare time, he built our house as well as other homes. We lived in Anchorage for 14 years. My Dad taught me how to fish and gold pan. We went camping all summer long. Every day was an adventure! I was the light of his life and adored him. Dad also taught me how to play poker at the early age of 4. We kept a jar of pennies and were always playing.

In 1974 Dad retired and we moved to Tangent, OR. I always had a passion for horses and animals so my parents bought a small farm where I could enjoy these passions. We had horses, cows, dogs, cats, rabbits, goats, and every other animal you can think of. The farm came with an antique Allis Chalmers tractor. Dad would plant our garden every year, plowing the ground with the old tractor. My Dad also taught me woodworking, which is one of my passions that I make money at today.

I married at 19. Though the marriage did not work out, it produced a Son. Dad fell in love with this beautiful little boy. Mom and Dad would watch him when I went to the local college for my classes. After I finished my schooling, I couldn't get a job. The economy had bottomed out in Oregon. Our next door neighbors suggested that I move to Las Vegas where they had come from. Though I couldn't fathom leaving my son, I left to seek employment. I did quite well, and my son did also being raised on the farm. I missed my family terribly and they would visit me often in Las Vegas. My son eventually came out to Las Vegas and resides there to this day.

On 22 November 1990, Thanksgiving morning, my boss called me into his office. My Mom had called him. After he had me sit down, he told me, "Your Dad had a massive heart attack, and passed away this morning." I screamed and cried. My Mom had made the right decision. She knew I couldn't handle this alone. I immediately flew home and tearfully helped plan his funeral. The holiday season has never been the same.

I was not the only one that couldn't handle the news. Mom was so angry about my Dads passing; her husband of 47 years. We laugh about it now, but Dad's favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. He loved the first big feast of the season!! Mom had cooked all night long to please my Dad. She was angry that he couldn't have waited until after he ate to pass away!

My Dad was a friend to many, especially the men he fought beside in WWII. I miss my Daddy and look forward to seeing him again.

Death and Burial

William Clayton Clark died on Thanksgiving Day, 22 November 1990. He is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, Riverside County, CA, in Section 28, Grave 948.

Honoree ID: 2117   Created by: MHOH




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