Bernard “Bernie” Clark, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, passed away on the morning of February 22, 2023, at Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, NC after a brief and unforgiving battle with mesothelioma at the spry age of 74.
Bernard was born on February 11, 1949, in Honesdale, PA to Bernard E. and Hazel M. (Remington) Clark. Being raised in the Poconos on the family poultry farm, Clark Poultry, Bernie was instilled with a passion for wildlife, hunting, homesteading and nature. He spent his youth in Lackawanna County playing baseball, camping with the boy scouts, working on the farm, and, in his high school years, discovering his love for motorcycles and fast cars. He graduated from Honesdale Catholic High School in 1967 and studied for one year at Keystone College before enlisting in the US Navy where he served 20 years.
It was when Bernie was deployed with the Navy to Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME in 1970 that he met his wife-to-be, Donna. After a sweet and expeditious courtship, the couple married on July 14, 1971, in Bath and headed off to their first deployment together. While Bernie was in the navy, he and Donna built loving homes in California, Japan, and Virginia. They had two children, William (1973) and Rebecca (1976), and resided in Chesapeake, VA until Bernie’s Navy Retirement in 1988. During their time in Virginia, and while Bernie was not deployed overseas, the Clark’s were fortunate to enjoy many family camping trips, sporting events, school concerts and weekends at Suffolk Raceway where Bernie could be found on the drag strip racing the ’27 Roadster he built with friends. After his retirement from the Navy, Bernie signed on as a Senior Instrument Technician with BOC Gases in Claymont, DE and the family relocated to Honey Brook, PA. Bernie sold the roadster, humbly named “Lost Youth”, and devoted himself to career, family, and community. He became active as a volunteer firefighter, just as his father had in Honesdale when he was growing up, serving as Treasurer for the Honey Brook Fire Company for several years. He found purpose in helping those in need and assisted with many charitable events with the fire hall to support the community. He and Donna both became Level 1 clay shooting instructors and continued this shared life-long hobby into retirement. In 2001, Bernie left BOC Gases and the couple moved back to where it all began and settled in Phippsburg, ME where Bernie worked for a short time at Stinson’s Seafood before taking a position at Maine Oxy in Auburn, ME until he retired in 2015.
Bernie and Donna sold their home in Maine at the end of 2015 and hit the road to become full-time RVers. They travelled from Maine to Florida, and a few places in between, before settling in the last few years close to their daughter, Becky, and her family, in Western North Carolina. During his retirement, Bernie became a live music enthusiast. He enjoyed supporting live music and attended many concerts in and around Asheville with family and friends. He loved a night spent having dinner and drinks downtown before catching a show! Bernie enjoyed the freedom of the RV lifestyle and shared many seasons with Donna as campground hosts, making friends from all over, spending time with family, and donating time to local food banks.
Bernie was deservedly proud of his service in the US Navy, retiring in Norfolk, VA with the rank of Master Chief (MCMM), Command Carrier Group 8, in 1988. In the Navy, he proudly served on the USS Providence (CLG-6) from 1968-1970, the USS Worden (DLG-18) from 1970-1973, the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) from 1976-1982, and while on shore duty, he served as an instructor of High- and Low-Pressure Cryogenics. In December of 1982, Bernard received the Navy Commendation Medal for meritorious service as Oxygen/Nitrogen Generating Plant and Main Engines Division Leading Chief Petty Officer aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). In 1983, he was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for superior performance at Main Propulsion Maintenance School, Fleet Training Center, Norfolk, VA for his work in developing the Aircraft Carrier Air Compressor Maintenance Course. These accolades are in addition to five Navy Good Conduct Awards, the National Defense Service Medal Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), the Vietnam Campaign and Service Medals (2 Bronze Stars), and a Meritorious Unit Commendation (USS Worden) as well as the Navy “E” Award, Achievement Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
As a motorcycling enthusiast for most of his life, Bernie became heavily involved in supporting fellow veterans as a member of the Patriot Riders of America – Maine Chapter #2 and serving as the Sargent at Arms for a period. He was very proud to have assisted his brothers in hosting a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the Cost of Freedom Tribute in 2014 in Scarborough, ME. While in retirement, he volunteered with Wreaths Across America in North Carolina and Florida. Bernie never once walked past a veteran on the street without offering help or let a fellow veteran walk by without a handshake and a hello.
Bernard Clark was a decorated Sailor, a highly trained instrument technician, a devoted and romantic husband, a thoughtful father and grandfather, a faithful Steelers fan, a meticulous planner and researcher, a race car driver, a marksman, an expert gardener, and a master fabricator of just about anything. He loved a good drink, preferably of the Irish persuasion, a good meal and a group of friends and family to enjoy it with. It was well-known among friends that Bernie had an enormous heart discernable only after you sustained and survived a bit of his sometimes brutally honest sense of humor. A keen observer of life, Bernie’s wit and experience was one of a kind and, like him, will be truly missed in this world.
Bernard was preceded in death by his parents, Bernard E. and Hazel M. (Remington) Clark; his son, William James Clark; and his grandson, Kenneth James Clark.
He is survived by his wife of 51 blissful years, Donna (Maker) Clark; his daughter, Rebecca Clark and partner, Andrew Gayheart, with grandson, Holland McMinn of Canton, NC; his granddaughter, Teresa (Clark) Fernandez and husband, Edil, with great-grandchildren William, Grace and Lillian of Saint Cloud, FL; and his beloved cat, Callie.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00pm on April 22, 2023, at the Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington St, Bath, ME 04530. Interment will be at Morningside Cemetery, Capt John Parker Rd, Phippsburg, ME. A reception for family and friends will follow at The Seguin Room at the Kennebec Tavern in Bath.
Memorial donations made in Bernard’s name can be sent to the Patriot Riders of America – Maine Chapter Two (PO Box 611, Brunswick, ME 04011) or Wounded Heroes of Maine (PO Box 1797, Saco, ME 04072).
To share your thoughts and condolences with the family, please visit www.desmondfuneralhomes.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bernard "Bernie" Clark, please visit our floral store.