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Capt. William B. “Bill” Clark, former commanding officer at U.S. Coast Guard TC Yorktown, died May 13, 2015, at the age of 84.
Bill was a career Coast Guard officer serving in varied assignments from coast to coast. Upon graduation from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1953, he was assigned to a Navy destroyer escort manned by a Coast Guard crew in the Korean theatre of operations during the Korean War. Besides serving on two other large Coast Guard cutters, he also served duty in marine inspection, personnel, training, chief of staff “officer,” commanded two training centers and capped his career as chief of Coast Guard Operations in New England where he successfully directed over 10,000 search and rescue (SAR) events without a single mishap.
He was the recipient of multiple military awards and commendations and received two Meritorious Service Medals and three Coast Guard Commendation Medals. Each unit he commanded received an outstanding unit award and also received numerous nonmilitary awards including his two favorites, a commendation from the York Board of Supervisors for his planning efforts for the Yorktown Bicentennial in 1981 and receiving an honorary COP rank from the CPOA at Yorktown.
Bill graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor’s of Science in engineering and a master’s in public administration from American University. While at the academy he was captain of the pistol team and received honors as an all-American, tying for the national collegiate team championship in 1953. He also was a member of the All Coast Guard Rifle and Pistol team for two years while a junior officer.
Bill was active in community affairs, as a member of both the Newport News and Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce where he encouraged military participation in many events. In later years, he served on the Board of Directors of the Two Rivers Yacht Club for 10 years and three years as its commodore. He also was on the Board of Directors of Two Rivers Country Club for two years, including service as chair of the tennis committee, and a Bruton Parish Usher.
He was an advocate for the 2007 commemorative, serving as a volunteer ambassador for Jamestown, Yorktown Foundation. As such, he spoke to many varied groups prior to the event informing and salutatory support for the celebration.
His continuing interest and knowledge lead to him to continual success in many community endeavors, including a member of 1607 Society at JYF and the Burgess Society in Colonial Williamsburg.
Capt. Clark is survived by his wife, Corneila Ann Clark; sons, Scott W. Clark and Bruce L. Clark, both of Raleigh, North Carolina; a daughter, Joy A. Clark Higbie and husband Pat Higbie, of Centreville; grandsons, Austin B. Clark, of Dallas, William C. Clark, of San Luis Obiso, California, Lt. Michael P. Higbie and wife, Lt. Keely Higbie, both stationed at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, Ryan S. Higbie, of Centreville and Tyler Clark and Denny Clark, of Raleigh, North Carolina; great-granddaughters, Tierra Clark, of Raleigh, North Carolina and Skylar Higbi, of New London, Connecticut; great-grandson, Trey Higbie, of Centreville; and sisters, Nelle Krobath and husband, John, of Haymarket and Joan Gotthardt, of Blacksburg.
Bill’s influence was far-reaching from his loving devotion to family to his deep sense of duty, wise counsel and steadfast friendship. He will be greatly missed in many circles.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 15, 2015, at their residence, 2064 Hornes Lake Road, Williamsburg. A memorial service will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at Bruton Parish Church, 331 Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg. Interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations maybe made to: the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 47 Mohegan Ave., New London, CT 06320; Bruton Parish Church, P.O. Box 3520, Williamsburg, VA 23187; or Hospice House of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg, VA 23188.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.
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