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Published: Saturday, 12/1/2007

Wauseon councilman was building contractor

WAUSEON - Clair W. "Bill" Clark, 81, a longtime city council member and prominent building contractor, died Thursday in his home here.

Family members said he had been ill with a variety of ailments for five years, but they did not know the exact cause of death.

Mr. Clark was appointed to a vacant council seat in early 1975 and, aside from a four-year hiatus in the 1980s when he was the city's building inspector, he served through 2001.

Mr. Clark was council president during much of the 1990s and worked closely with then-Mayor Jerry Matheny.

"We were like brothers, basically," Mr. Matheny said. "He was very dedicated to Wauseon. This was Bill's world - right here."

A lifelong resident, Mr. Clark learned his carpentry skills during World War II in the Seabees, the construction battalions of the U.S. Navy. After the war, he founded what became Clark Builders Inc. and built more than 100 houses and 30 barns before retiring in 1985.

A highlight came in the early 1980s when he and his son, Patrick, were hired to manage construction of a 300-head dairy farm in the Alaskan wilderness.

At the time of his retirement from council, Mr. Clark cited his biggest accomplishments as rebuilding Ottokee Street and helping to move forward the waterline link project with Napoleon and the Maumee River.

"Most everything I wanted to see accomplished was accomplished," he told The Blade. "It took a lot of work and some good members of council."

Surviving are his wife of 60 years, Ernestine; daughters, Janice Miller and Lorelei Carroll; sons, Randall, Patrick, Kim, Jon, and Robert; 16 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow in Edgar-Grisier Funeral Home, Wauseon. Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Caspar Catholic Church, Wauseon. The family suggests tributes to the church or Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County.

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