January 6, 1927 – September 15, 2018
With sorrow and also in warm observance of a life fully lived, we report the passing of Charles Clark, age 91, the founder of Clark Pest Control, who passed away peacefully Saturday at home in Lodi, California surrounded by his family.
Mr. Clark was born in Stockton, CA. in 1927, and grew up there (as well as in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland), during the Great Depression. In January, 1945, having turned eighteen, he joined the United States Navy, where he served in the South Pacific during the intense, final months of World War II.
Returning to Stockton after the war, Mr. Clark launched the company that bears his name in 1950; and beginning with a single truck, Mr. Clark eventually grew his business into the largest privately held pest control firm west of the Mississippi. One of his proudest accomplishments was the many jobs he created, which made it possible for so many people to support not only themselves but their families.
Always a progressive-minded businessman, Mr. Clark is credited with helping to develop the modern-day pest management industry. He was appointed by California Gov. Jerry Brown to serve two terms as a member of the Structural Pest Control Board in 1979 and 1982, and recently received the Harvey Logan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC).
Mr. Clark, who was known to his family, friends and acquaintances as “Charlie”, was a modest and unpretentious man. He had a gift for storytelling, and a lifelong enthusiasm for reading and learning new things. In later years he and his wife Shirlene traveled extensively with their numerous friends; and listed journeys to such places as Istanbul, London, New Orleans, Alaska, the pyramids of Egypt, and the island of his ancestors, Ireland, as among his favorite destinations.
A decades-long member of Woodbridge Country Club, Mr. Clark was a low-handicap golfer for much of his life, as well as an avid fly-fisherman and outdoorsman who loved equally the pre-dawn serenity of a duck-blind and a boisterous hand of gin rummy with his pals. As a small boy he witnessed Babe Ruth play an exhibition baseball contest, and remained not only a life-long aficionado of the game, but a resolute San Francisco Giants fan.
Mr. Clark was also a generous philanthropist who donated to a wide array of organizations ranging from Ducks Unlimited to the Women's Center-Youth & Family Services of Lodi to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Charlie Clark leaves behind his loving wife of 63 years, Shirlene; four sons, Charles III “Trey” (Kathleen), Jeffrey, Joseph (Darlene), and Terrence (Toni); six grandchildren, Franklin, Matt, Kelli, Harper, Charlie Grace, and Katie Rose, and his brother William; as well as Trista Stanley and many, many beloved nieces, nephews, colleagues and friends. Mr. Clark also leaves the company he built, loved, and stayed active in until the final year of his long and notable life.