Clark N. Stephens, March 10, 1930 to September 1, 2019
Clark, the son of Noble and Bessie Stephens, was born in Portland and raised in Garden Home adjacent to the Portland Golf Club. He started caddying there when he was 10 because all the older caddies were off to war. As a fringe benefit the caddies could play the course on Mondays. He worked on the grounds crew there throughout high school and college. Upon graduating from Tigard High School in 1947 he enlisted in the Army. After Basic Training he was assigned to entertain the troops, playing the trumpet in an Army dance band. Upon his discharge he enrolled at Lewis & Clark College where he played on the golf team and four years of football. He was a member of the undefeated 1950 L&C Team, Northwest Conference Champions. The team was ranked second in the nation among small colleges. A modest man, when asked about his trumpet and football experiences Clark said “He had the good fortune to surround himself with talent.”
Clark worked as a firefighter the last two summers he was in college. To do that it was necessary for him to take the civil service exam and apply for the job. In 1953 he was surprised when the Fire Bureau called and said he was number one on the list for appointment. Asked if he would take the job he decided to say, “Yes.” He had been planning on teaching and coaching. Clark frequently said he was lucky and his accidentaly becoming firefighter was his best piece of luck yet. He loved his job. He worked for the Portland Fire Bureau 35 years, rising through the ranks to Deputy Chief. He was active in the IAFF serving as Secretary/Treasurer of both Local 43 and the Portland Firefighters Beneficiary Assn.
Clark was a devoted father. Camping, razor clam digging and swim meets were family activities. He spent many hours officiating at Portland Northeast YMCA competitions. He continued to support his grandchildren in their personal lives and all their athletic endeavors. He was always a patient teacher. Almost 30 years of family reunions at Sunriver allowed his children to reconnect and the cousins to get to know each other better.
After his family was raised Clark took up the golf he loved again. He and his wife, Connie, embraced the RV lifestyle and made several trips across the United States and Canada. They bought a RV lot on a golf course in Surprise, Ariz., where they enjoyed 25 winters along with many of their firefighter buddies from Portland and a number of new friends. They lived full time in their RV for five years. After a long hiatus Clark enjoyed playing his trumpet again in local bands. In his late 70’s Clark took up bicycling in earnest and completed Cycle Oregon with his lifelong friend, Bob Peters, four consecutive years. In 2010 he was the oldest person on the ride.
In their retirement he and his wife traveled widely in Hawaii, Mexico, South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Their most memorable trip was three weeks touring China shortly after China opened to tourism in 1996.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years; his son, Cliff (Rhonda); daughters, Jill Vaughan (Darrell), Shelley Stoyanov (Petar), April Meyer (Raymond); nine grandchildren, Evan Meyer, Caleb Stephens, Alexandra Thomas, Grant Meyer, Brent Stephens, Riley Clingman, Krista Stephens, Jay Vaughan, Lara Stoyanov; and three great-granddaughters, Elowyn, Coralie and Rhosyn.
A celebration of Clark’s life will be held at 1 p.m., Oct. 5, 2019, at the Stockpot Restaurant at the Red Tail Golf Course in Beaverton.
Remembrances may be sent to the Lewy Body Disease Association, 912 Killian Hill Road S.W., Liburn, GA 30047 or online at lbda.org
Also see Clark’s memior published here on GardenHomeHistory.com in 2010.
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