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Obituary for Ray Clark

Ray Clark
Come Celebrate the Life of Ray Alton Clark
September 13, 1919 - February 25, 2009
Ray Clark memorial service Sunday, July 5, from 2 PM sharp. It will be a casual celebration. Ray's grandson, Minister Drue Lane, will open the ceremony with a brief introduction and prayer, then everyone who wants to can tell their "Ray Clark" stories. The fly over with a crop duster "dusting" the ashes and a moment of silence will be at a time depending on the weather. It will be at the Mid American Air Center in Lawrenceville, IL in the hangar if it is raining and the hangar will also provide shade. We will have some chairs but from the response we may not have enough so please bring yours if you can. We are bringing 100s of log books belonging to former students and pictures of people that Dad took and intended them to have but never got around to sending them out. There are also aerial photos and some of them may be your property as seen from the air that you may have to keep. Be sure to tell your buddies to come look. There will be a videographer but do bring your cameras and hopefully we can all share pictures. If anyone has any pictures they would like displayed, please make a copy and bring it and we will add it to our memorial display. Copies are the best as we would hate for something to happen to the originals. A babysitter will be provided for anyone with small children who wants. The Clark family and Amy Walker of the Public Education Foundation will announce the Ray Clark Aeronautical Studies Scholarship and Drue will close the ceremony.
Directions and runway info at Contact Lisa Lewis, 812-254-3100 or Debra Clark, 812-895-0548 for any inquiries or scholarship donations.


Ray Alton Clark, 89, passed away at his home on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009, in Vincennes.
He was born in Spencer County, the oldest son of Luke Alton and Gustava Lois(Cissna) Clark.
Ray graduated from Reitz High School in Evansville in 1937 and was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Washington and many aviation organizations.
Ray is survived by his sister, Marian Alvers of New York City; a brother, Kenneth Clark of Indianapolis; five daughters, Mrs. Judith Hoffer of Portland, Ore., Debra Clark of Vincennes, Mrs. Ronald K. (Lisa) Lewis of Washington, Mrs. Keith (Cathy) Mills of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and Jodi Clark of Columbus; also surviving is his second wife Claudette Ritz of Washington, Indiana, her children Tina Durnil of Washington, Indiana, Barbara Ritz of Indianapolis, and Lori Ritz of Claymore, Oklahoma; 27 grandchildren; 43 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and numerous others whose lives he touched. He was much loved and will be missed.
Preceding Ray in death were his parents; three brothers; two sisters; his wife of 37 years, Margie (Plummer) Clark; one daughter, Mrs. Michael (Janet)
Early; one son, Luke Clark; and one grandson.
Ray¹s father died when he was 16, and he became the family breadwinner. He worked briefly in a refrigerator factory in Evansville while finishing high school until he was awarded a Civilian Pilot Training Program Scholarship.
Thus began his lifelong love of flying. He was awarded a second scholarship for advanced study and remembers being on the top bunk of his dorm room in
the hangar on Dec. 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor. His training was accelerated, and he became a CPT instructor for military pilots, having been rejected for military service due to extremely flat feet. Ray trained World War II pilots for the Army and Navy.
After the war and many training stations, he returned to Indiana and along with two other men formed the Daviess County Airport in Washington. After his "retirement" from there, he reopened, revitalized and managed many small airports around Indiana, believing airports were vital to rural areas. He taught thousands to fly, many at his own expense, clocked more than 100, 000 flight hours and shared his passion for aeronautics with all he met.
He often said he had never worked a day in his life because he went to a job he loved for more than 70 years.
Ray donated his body to science, and a private memorial service will be held Sunday July 5, 2009 at 2pm sharp. Please leave online condolences and any special memories of Ray to be shared with his family and friends at his memorial to: or sign an online guestbook at
Condolences can also be mailed to: 44 Thompson Drive, Vincennes, IN 47591.
The family is establishing a pilot training scholarship fund in his name.
Donations may be made through the family until plans are finalized and will be announced at the memorial.

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