Conversations with Joe Clarke recalled

September 24, 2003

Dear Editor:

The accolades and remarks of appreciation in behalf of Joe Clarke will come from many directions and from varied personages. They will affirm his character, his ethics, and his involvement in the activities of life. For the most part, they will be accurate and give evidence that his life was meaningful.

There is, however, an aspect of his life that may be overlooked in the shock of his departure. I knew Joe from the beginning of pre-school to graduation. Our paths led to differing vocations and activities and in time, we each moved back to Danville to replant the roots of our heritage.

For a period of 20 years, I talked with Joe on Sunday afternoons as he vacuumed his car. Our conversations dealt with anecdotal childhood memories and with the deeper aspects of life and death. He was a devout Catholic and his devotion to the church was deeply rooted.


But in a higher level of faith, he was a Christian who embraced the precepts of grace and forgiveness. Christians often disagree about matters of this nature, but in the end, each of us stands before God as one who has been redeemed by the blood of Christ and for that reason, stands without blemish, before the Father.

On a very personal level, Joe believed this and lived his life in such a manner as to demonstrate both his faith and his inability to live a perfect life. He was a gifted man, but not perfect. In ways that are both apparent and insightful, he was like the rest of us.

My last conversation with him included a discussion of a song that he had heard one of our fellow citizens, Aprile Hunt, sing. He was impressed with the words, "When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart." The shout of acclamation may have been heard as he stepped into the presence of God, and we can only imagine the joy that is his.

Edward Clark


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