The Song of Victory

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;

I'm sure there are so many different things my Papaw is known for. Some you might not even know about, but I'm sure if you knew him a long time, you knew everything about him. 

Papaw lived to be 95 years old. The people that would have know him from WW II  are most likely not around any longer. I believe he served for over 5 years, and we have heard the stories of all the places he went. He and my great uncle could tell them together--he wasn't as good of a story teller as my great uncle ( his brother in-law), but he still had some good ones.

Some know that he was 1 of 14 children. 

If you went to church with him, you might have heard him sing the words from the song above. You might know that he liked to sing at church. He was a member of Ashby Lane Alliance Church ( now Grace Crossing ), and was active in the church.

Some might have known him from calling 636-1309 at 11:30 PM on a cold winter night if your heat went out. 

Or you might have worked for him one summer , or several years, at Bill Clark & Son. He started his company in 1962. This business and building are currently gone. This photo was on South 2nd street, where there is now a bridge, baseball stadium, and football stadium in the background. 

You might have know him from playing softball for him or on the team he sponsored. I've heard they were pretty good. Many times, we heard. Luke and I were visiting back home one time, and decided to check out the new turf at UL baseball stadium with my dad. There just happened to be a man there. As he was asking us our names, and my dad was sharing with him,  the man realized he knew Papaw from softball years ago. He then took us on a tour of the whole facility.

You might have played golf with him. And he never EVER cheated =) He aways had a set of clubs with him. He ended up making part of the office at work into a little putting practice area. He had the putting machine that spit the ball back out at you. He also loved to be a part of the FCA scramble every year.

You might have know him because he traveled with you on your ball trips with UofL. He might have sat on your bed after games and shared a pizza with you. Or he might have bought you a fur coat, before those things (buying a gift for a player) were illegal. This might have been his thing that I was most jealous of. I REALLY wanted to go on a trip with him and the team. I kept trying until my senior year, but then I realized a 17 year old girl really can't go on a trip with the team and stay with 2 old men or college athletes.
Everyone that meets me always asks how I got to be a UofL fan instead of UK. Well, there was no choice. If you knew Papaw, you knew he was red through and through. He was friends with the coaches and trainers and teams. He always had something Louisville or red in sight. My grandma was all about the cardinal bird too.

He was very active with Louisville FCA. The FCA office was about his for as long as I can remember.  He also delivered Meal on Wheels; he would take food to the 'old people'.  Mind you, he was in his 80's when he still was doing this, and he was older than the 'old people' he took food to. After he delivered the food, he would go lift weights at Sun Valley .

When thinking about how I remember my papaw best, there are 3 scenarios. 
Growing up, we spent almost every weekend during the summer with my grandparents. We would drive down to Cave Spring Farm usually Friday after work, and usually stop at a little restaurant on the way. I remember 2 different places we'd stop, and they all knew us. We would sit in the living room and watch TGIF, and sometimes head down to get ice cream at the lake. Grammy would love to make rice crispy treats late at night too. He always woke up early on Saturday to get started on the garden, but sometimes he would take my sister and me to North Fork and Spoon for some biscuits and gravy. He sometimes brought them to the house for us. My sister and I played all day while the 4 adults worked in the flowers or the garden. We'd help check on the cows, walk along the creek, and pick peppermint. We'd fly kites on the hill, and then when we went to get gas, the lady would tell us how she knew we were in town from seeing our kites in the sky. There would be some time of sitting and drinking a cold diet drink, a little fishing, and maybe some swimming. We'd drive through Druthers on the way home ( later Dairy queen) for some onion rings, and then get ready to start the week over and do it all again.

Besides just on the weekends, during the week, we were around him just about every afternoon. My mom would pick us up from school, and we'd go spend an hour and a half at the office with my dad, grandpa, and all the guys at their shop. We'd sit at his desk, pretend to work, play 'games' on the other computers, ride our bikes and rollerblade through the parking lot and warehouse. We'd help clean the bathroom, sometimes walk to Moby Dick to eat lunch, go upstairs and bug the FCA guys, and load the glass bottles into the coke machine; how did we have so much time? We'd also pick cherries from the cherry tree out front, and do whatever else we could get into! 

Lastly, he  was just an avid sports fan. We spent many hours at games with him. He spent many hours at our games, and he knew everything about my teammates on the volleyball and basketball teams. He wasn't ever one to not speak his mind, so I heard all his thoughts on all of their talent( or lack of). He bought my team new uniforms my junior year, & my grandparents kept the plaque hanging on their wall that my coach Camille gave them. 

Not only did he come to almost all of my games in high school, he told EVERYONE about them. I'd walk into a Louisville basketball game, and everyone that sat in the box behind me would say ," I saw where you had ____ points".  He'd talked so much about my teams that everyone around him told me that they always looked for me first in the box scores.  He was proud. My grandma did similar in the beauty shop ;)  I have an envelope from their house where my grandma had cut EVERY box score out of the newspaper since I played in high school. They cared and they loved.
Did I mention how much he loved his lazy boy?

It's been almost a year since my grandma passed away. We have many memories of them both; These are just a few that scratch the surface. Life will go on, and that makes me sad. We will miss him so much. I know my kids' kids will never know them. We will only have memories & photos to share.  I have many more photos from me as a baby up to a few days before he took his last breath. It's hard to remember how they lived the end of their life-- in pain and suffering. We know they are in a better place, together again, singing, golfing, shopping, rejoicing and living pain free. 
I'd love to hear your story of how you remember William Russell Clark!

About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory.

Online Obituary link : William Russell Clark
Owen Funeral Home
5317 Dixie Highway
Louisville, KY 40216
(502) 447-2600
Visitation Thursday June 9 4-8 pm
Funeral Friday, June 10 at 11am
Burial will take place at Cave Spring United Methodist Church in Breckinridge County, KY following the funeral.
Donations can be made to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at
400 Blankenbaker Parkway suite 301
Louisville 40243
Donations will be added to the Bill Clark/FCA summer camp scholarship endowment.

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