John W. Clark, Jr.December 24, 1936 ~ August 6, 2017 (age 80)
John W. Clark, Jr., was born on December 24, 1936, in Rochester, New York, a first child and Christmas gift to his parents, John W. Clark, Sr. and Dorothy Springett Clark. He died on August 6, 2017, in Houston, Texas, having served as a Professor at Rice University for 49 years.
Dr. Clark grew up in Rochester, and after graduation from Brighton High School, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years. During those years, he met and married his wife of 61 years, Betty Stovall (Kit) Clark, in Memphis, Tennessee, who survives him. He returned to Memphis on discharge from the military, graduating with honors from Christian Brothers University, and enriched by the presence of his four children, John W. Clark III, of Houston, Nan Ellen Clark Stout, of Sugar Land, Adrienne Anne Clark Iles, of Rockport, and Michael Christian Clark, of Houston.
Because of his performance as an undergraduate, he was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to attend the Case Institute of Technology, in Cleveland, Ohio, receiving a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, followed by a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University, a consolidation of Case Tech and Western Reserve. It was there he began his teaching career in the cradle of a new field of science, becoming known as Bioengineering, that was fast developing.
In 1968 the family moved to Houston, where Dr. Clark at the time of his death held professorships in both the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and also the Bioengineering Department which he was instrumental in establishing at Rice some years later. His work at the University, the Medical Center in Houston, and elsewhere around the globe, made his life a song, giving him an extraordinary joy. It took him and his family all over the world, including a sabbatical year in Germany in 1975-76; a summer in Lyon, France in 2000; several summers during the 80's in Banff, Alberta; Christmases in Vienna; and numberless other excursions and trips to places far and near. His life was rich and full, and all who knew and loved him will miss him.
Dr. Clark was a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for contributions to modeling in electrophysiology and cardiopulmonary systems, and was cited as one of the leaders in bioengineering in the Houston area. He served as President of the international IEEE Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS) and held several offices in that Society. He was a founding fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and served on its Governing Board. In 1993, he was inducted as a Founding Fellow in the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in a ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. Early in his career he was named an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow, and spent a year with his family as a guest of the German government at the University of Karlsruhe. In 2009, he received the IEEE/Engineering in Medicine and Biology Service Award for outstanding service and contributions to the EMB Society and a meritorious career in biomedical engineering education. He counted as one of his favorite accomplishments the founding of the Houston Society for Engineering in Medicine and Biology (HSEMB), which met annually at the Hilton Hotel at the University of Houston, and was intended to encourage young scientists in Houston and surrounding regions.
In addition to his four children, Dr. Clark is survived by eight grandchildren: Kristin Stout Edwards and John Wesley Stout, Francis Clark, Wyatt and Arliss Iles, and Joshua, Benjamin and Sophie Clark. He also leaves two great-grandchildren, Wesley and Nathan Edwards. Miss Wesley is seven years old, and Nathan is three.
Dr. Clark was a devout Roman Catholic, appearing at 10:30 every Sunday morning for mass at the Chapel of St. Basil, where he enjoyed the companionship of many friends, including the priests who have served there through the years.
A funeral mass will be celebrated for Dr. Clark at half past three o’clock in the afternoon, on Thursday, August 10, 2017, in the Chapel of St. Basil, followed by a reception in the Link Lee Mansion. Both the Chapel and the Mansion are located on the campus of The University of St. Thomas, at the intersection of Montrose and Westheimer in Houston.
In lieu of traditional remembrances, the family requests that a contribution in Dr. Clark’s name be made to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, to foster the next generation of outstanding young researchers. The address is American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 603, Washington, DC 20036, or online at https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=MdnxBbuX5lYHXGmRHhMsvCFqG4hxSCWYtPuE-Z-UC8WuupDjg9B8NvE8uYl8V9WHCSMAHG&country.x=US&locale.x=US.