Gary Lee Clark

February 12, 1942 ~ July 4, 2012

Gary passed away peacefully at home on July 4, 2012 at the age of 70 due to cancer. He was born February 12, 1942 in Wichita, KS, moving to Vancouver, WA in 1944.
Gary worked as a high school English, Speech, and Debate teacher at Franklin, Battle Ground, and Brush Prairie high schools for most of his adult life, with a brief sabbatical at the Vancouver Plywood Mill during the early 1970s.
Gary's passion was intellectual discussions and he participated in them at every opportunity, his amazing energy was visible to all who listened. As a coach, Gary led his high school debate teams to many tournaments and encouraged students to savor the experience and learn from both victories and defeats.
Gary was an active man with a love of sailing and zeal for life. Gary spent many leisure hours on the water beginning in his youthful years with the Sea Scouts and continuing with the many catamaran's and other sailboats he owned as an adult.
In his retirement, Gary developed a passion for organic gardening. During the last few years, his greenhouse and garden provided for a large percentage of his sustenance. While Gary enjoyed time in the garden for its own merit, he especially treasured time spent there with his partner Susan and their faithful canine, Sassy.
His father and mother, Dana and Carolyn Clark, predeceased Gary in death.
Gary is survived by his partner, Susan Barchek; brother; Craig Clark; daughters, Dawn Lindsay and Melanie Clark; grandsons, Cameron Lindsay and Griffin Lindsay; and step-daughter, Lynne Gibbons Gray.
Service to be held at Manor Grange in Battle Ground, WA, Sat., Aug. 4, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
Please sign his Guest Book at
Published by The Columbian on Jul. 15, 2012.
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17 Entries
I taught with Gary for years at Prairie High School. I remember having many heartfelt talks with him. I love him. There was a time when we ate salads for lunch and staff brought wonderful things to contribute; I remember Gary bringing tasty veggies from his garden. After Gary left PHS, it was a joy for me to run into him at school; at that point he was working with "teachers to be". I have been praying comfort and peace to the family and friends of Gary.
Dawn Rowe
Dawn Rowe
August 6, 2012
Sorry to read of Gary's passing. I went to school with Gary from the 1st grade onward, through high school. Have lots of fond memories of our grade school years. Not sure if Gary was a photo saver, but if not here's a photo of Gary's 1st grade class, where it all started.
Don Gillingham
August 4, 2012
Melanie and family: I did not know Gary personally but only heard good hings about him.Its hard to loose someone who has been in your life for ever. Remember the good times and cherish them.My deepest Sympathy, Your friend Joann Grant
August 4, 2012
Gary was inscrutable--quiet enough to be a mystery, but with a basic philosophy one could read if you worked on it.

He was a speech teacher with the rare ability to provide direction and yet leave the student with an intact ego.

He lived as an independent on the hill with his garden and building being proud accomplishments.

As part of the Prairie High School carpool culture, he shared a piece of his life that is remembered by those who rode along.

Like it or not, Gary, I will see you on the other side!
Klaras Ihnken
August 3, 2012
Condolences and warm thoughts to all who mourn Gary's passing this Saturday. I always remember him as a person of zest .. who gave me, a friend of his two daughters, room to be myself... wish I could be at the service Melanie and Dawn...

consuela metzher
August 2, 2012
Gary will be greatly missed. Much love to you Susan
Donatella Johanson
August 1, 2012
Our condolences to Susan and the family. You are in our thoughts and prayers as you honor the incredible man that Gary was.
Gary and Susan have given me their extra plants for my garden the last few years. Much of the produce was passed along to the poor as I was able, and I know Gary & Susan appreciated that. Gary also shared some gardening information which was helpful. He will be dearly missed by all of us that knew him.
Judy Duncan
August 1, 2012
I love Gary and I have so many memories of him. He taught how to not just speak in public, but to speak eloquently in public. Sometimes he would play the devils advocate just to make you support your opinion. He lived the way he wanted to live and I have a lot of respect for that. I can't go into all of my memories here, but suffice it to say Gary will be missed.
Carol Lingle/Jennings
July 23, 2012
Gary and his daughters have been part of my life for many years. As a fellow teacher, I found Gary to be an inspiration and a role model. We shared many discussions, laughs, and opinions. Gary, Dear Friend, I will miss you. You have been special to many of us. Thank you.
Mavis Nickels
July 22, 2012
Before I had Mr. Clark as a speech teacher, I had no interest in literature or debate. It was Mr. Clark's personality and teaching style that made me enjoy them, especially speech. I learned valuable life skills from Mr. Clark that aid me in my adult life on a daily basis. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Clark, he was hands down the most influential teacher I ever had and he was my favorite teacher.
Thank you Mr. Clark
Robert Pietz
July 20, 2012
I liked Gary Clark as a teacher and a person. His classroom was always open to ideas, and of course, debate. I wish that all students could have more teachers as engaging as he was and am sorry that he didn't get to enjoy more of his retirement.
Anna Farr
July 19, 2012
Gary Clark was a fine teacher. Being a shy introverted teenager who had a terrible time speaking in front of more then a few people at a time he taught me the skills to overcome and conquer those fears. I use those skills to this day. You respected your students differences and likes whether you agreed with them or not. I thank you Mr Clark. You had a profound effect on this student not all of which I realized until my adulthood.
Elizabeth Caudill
July 18, 2012
Gary Clark was a great teacher - kind, caring, inspirational, understanding and a great listener. Although he was my debate coach for only one year, he was the kind of teacher you appreciate more and more with each passing year.
Robert Handsaker
July 17, 2012
I recall Mr. Clark as being very caring, kind, and extremely interested in helping kids to improve their writing. He'll be missed. Safe travels, Gary.
Katherine Livick
July 16, 2012
Growing up in a pretty conservative home, I was not completely prepared for the wide, wide world. I tended to shy away from adults that strongly held beliefs other than mine. Gary was one of the first adults that didn't agree with my worldview, but allowed me to speak it, and even discussed it openly with me. In turn, that opened me up to hearing other worldviews. He gave me a safe space to listen and explore.

It's ironic that someone with such different beliefs actually helped reinforce mine. I figured out that the freedom and love shown to me was what I really thought God was like all along, not a taskmaster who had a list you'd better follow if you weren't going to tick him off. Others have reinforced that along the way, but he was certainly the most unique.
Jim Owens
July 16, 2012
I knew Gary through Sea Scouts and at Hudson's Bay High School. My condolences to Gary's extended family and close circle of friends. He was a peaceful and honest soul.
Daivd Crockett
July 15, 2012
My condolences to Gary's family and friends. I had heard many stories about the times in Sea Scouts.
Tammy Auburg (Ketola)
July 15, 2012
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