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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, April 29, 2010
Jerry Clark is remembered as a kind, intuitive kid
By Saranac Hale Spencer
VOORHEESVILLE Smiles surrounded Jerry Clark because he looked for ways to make them.
“That warm heart made him an extraordinary human being,” said his uncle, Jeff Clark. He was keenly aware of people’s feelings, his uncle said, and “he was always trying to make people around him feel good. He was very empathetic.”
Mr. Clark died unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. He was 17.
The Voorheesville high school wrestling champ had his first peewee match at the age of 6, his mother remembered. He took fourth place, she said, and that was “his first time on the mat.”
He had a natural ability and he grew up with an uncle and a father who were both wrestlers, she said, concluding, “The family taught him.”
Mr. Clark was a hard worker, said wrestling coach Matt Robinson, and he was quick and well balanced. He was the first Section 2 champ to come out of the program since the 1980s, he said. Jeff Clark took that title in 1984.
“He would get something in his sights and do what he could to achieve it,” Mr. Robinson said.
As a sophomore, he was a state qualifier in wrestling and Class C champion, said Joseph Sapienza, Voorheesville’s varsity football coach, and he was a Class C All-Star in football as a junior.
“He was the type of young man who liked competition, camaraderie,” Mr. Sapienza said.
Of his success in sports, his mother said, “He felt he had to live up to himself.”
But he also liked the social side of sports, she said, since he’d often spend more time on the opposing team’s bench, getting to know new people. “He made friends with everybody,” she said.
As a kid on a long car ride after a trip to Florida, Mr. Clark wanted to sit next to the baby in the back, his uncle recalled. He played with her until she fell asleep and wanted to play so much that he tried to open her eyes to keep her going. “A 12-year-old boy with that kind of love in him,” he said with wonderment.
Growing up, he was close to his sister, Samantha, who was four years younger, said Ms. Clark. He’d wrestle with her and sometimes let her win. “When they were together, they were inseparable,” she said.
Mr. Clark didn’t apply himself in school, she said, but he liked science. Often, he’d figure out what would happen in the experiment before the teacher had finished. “He was very intuitive,” she said.
He was interested in psychology, she said of his future aspirations. “He was a little confused himself,” she said, but mostly he was “interested in what makes the brain tick.”
Mr. Clark maintained an unusual dichotomy, his uncle said, since he was a tough athlete with “a very soft interior.” That was what defined him, he said.
“He was just so loving,” he said. “It was just part of his nature.”
Mr. Clark is survived by his mother, Wendy Clark; his father, Gerald Clark; his sister, Samantha Clark; and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins as well as many friends.
Services will be private for the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression, Post Office Box 17598, Baltimore, MD 21297-1598.