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10/8/2015 9:00:00 AM
Rev. James E. Clark, 73

A funeral Mass was offered Oct. 8 at the Corpus Christi Church, Round Lake, for Rev. James Clark, who died Oct. 2. He was 73 and had been a priest of the Albany Diocese for 19 years.

A native of Niskayuna raised in Scotia, he was pastor of Corpus Christi parish at the time of his death, but had had a long and varied career prior to his priesthood: active duty in the U.S. Army, during which he was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and received 16 Air Medals with Valor, the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm; and teaching at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, in Utica, and at military installations overseas.

His wife, Sandy, passed away in 1985. He became a professor of business management, logistics, and process improvement at Siena College in Loudonville and began working for the Albany Diocese as an administrator, managing the construction of the diocesan Pastoral Center in Albany.

Father Clark, who had earned three Master's degrees, entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in 1996. He served as pastor of St. Catherine's parish in Middleburgh, St. Joseph's in Schoharie, St. Jude's in Wynantskill, St. Patrick's in Catskill, Immaculate Conception in Hoosick Falls and St. George's in Pittstown.

He led St. James in Fort Plain, Ss. Peter and Paul in Canajoharie and St. Patrick's in Johnsville through their merger to become Our Lady of Hope parish in Fort Plain.

Father Clark had been pastor of Corpus Christi since 2010 and also led the Diocese's apostolate to the deaf, served as a hospital chaplain and held many other positions.

For someone with such an interesting life story and aptitude in so many areas, Father Clark was surprisingly quiet about himself. Whenever he was interviewed by The Evangelist, he would focus on others: the persons with hearing impairments who, he worried, would drop away from the Church if it didn't consider their needs; or the many pentitents who caused him to increase the hours he was available for the sacrament of reconciliation at Corpus Christi parish.

Father Clark emphasized the need for "visible signs that God loves us," like "that voice [telling us] that our sins are forgiven" after confessing. In a story about "cry rooms" at churches for boisterous or upset children, he objected to the idea, saying, "There are probably better pastoral ways to make both the parent and the children feel comfortable."

Diocesan officials said that Father Clark's encouragement of Catholics to take part in parish life -- while working industriously himself in a number of service positions -- were just two of the gifts he brought to the priesthood.

May he rest, now, in the arms of the God he served so well.

Survivors include two sons, James of Albany and Jeffrey of Charlotte, N.C.; siblings David of Vermont and Florida, Diane Garrison of Florida and Kathryn Clark-Rich of Manhattan; and four grandchildren: Courtney, Christian, Chelsea, and Carter.

Interment was at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Niskayuna.

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