Clark Ewing, the other grandfather of my children, died this morning. It ‘s been a tough couple of months for Jeremy and Sarah. I’ve been thinking about the similarities and differences between the two men.
Clark was three years older and started his family sooner, so he had had his fourth child before I was born. Both men worked hard establishing themselves and their families in the 1950’s and were firmly established in the suburban middle class by the end of the decade. Both came from rather conservative Christian backgrounds and moved to more liberal interpretations as they got older.
Both were active in their respective churches but the nature of their activity reflected their personalities. Dad taught Sunday School and edited the newsletter. Clark led public campaigns.
Dad eventually branched out from the Church activities and became active in the Movie Club and some local charities. Clark was a member of Rotary Club and was prominent in the Toledo YMCA.
I believe Clark’s greatest achievement was his stewardship of the camp run by the Toledo Y in southern Michigan. I tend to refer to it as a ‘summer’ camp, but in reality it was a year ’round operation at the time I came into the family in 1981. Clark had been director for many years by that time. He was passionate about the place and had been instrumental in expanding into its current state. He was not shy about talking about where he thought it should go from there.
Where Dad was solid and careful; a craftsman, with hidden talents, Clark was ebullient and was the first to stand up and say ‘Follow me!’ Perhaps some might say he moved too fast, or reached farther than he could grasp, but he relished the challenge.
At Dad’s funeral, we had a hundred or so people attending. A dozen or so spoke afterwards and were highly complimentary. As word of Clark’s death goes out, there will be thousands of men and women who will reflect back on their experiences with Clark and know how he influenced them positively. Many will travel to Michigan, I predict, to participate in whatever memorial is planned.
Neither is better than the other. We all take our paths in life influenced by opportunity and our own personalities. Both are being mourned by their families and many others. I am the child of my father. He influenced me more than anyone else. Clark showed me another way, and influenced my children profoundly as well. I am happy to have known both men.
I found a little appreciation I wrote about Clark a couple of years ago. Here it is.