Fred Clark, 92, 2015 Gatesborough Circle, Murray, Kentucky, died March 19, 2007, at Presbyterian Home, Clinton, South Carolina, and was buried in South Pleasant Grove Methodist Cemetery, Hazel, Kentucky, where five generations of his family rest. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Murray.
He held various teaching and coaching positions in Kentucky schools in Calloway, Crittenden, and McCracken Counties. Later in his career he moved to Elmwood Park, Illinois where he held various administrative positions, including principal and assistant superintendent of schools. He remained in Elmwood Park from 1944 until his retirement.
He was a member of Murray Lions Club, and he was also a past president of the Kiwanis Club at Elmwood Park.
Fred was born December 15, 1914, in Calloway County, Kentucky, and was the son of the late Muncie O. Clark and Tempest Phillips Clark. Also preceding him in death were his son-in-law, Richard Miles, and a brother, Dorris Clark.
Survivors include his wife, Mayrelle Jones Clark, to whom he was married June 4, 1938, in Union City, Tennessee; one daughter, Carole Clark Miles, Piedmont, South Carolina; one son, Rodney Alan Clark and wife, Cynthia, McFarland, Wisconsin; one sister, Quava Clark Honchul, Murray; one brother, Pat Clark, Carrollton, Virginia; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Margaret Mayrelle Jones Clark is the daughter of Thomas Alva Jones (1879-1938) and Anna Pearl Erwin (1887-1977), and the g-g-g-g-granddaughter of James N. Irvine/Erwin (1709-1770) and Agness Patterson (1717-1800).
Joseph Thomas Erwin
“Joe Tom” Erwin, of New Concord, Kentucky, was born June 23, 1925, and passed away August 28, 2006. His obituary was lengthy, and was reported in the September 2006 issue of the Bagpiper.
To briefly review, however, Joe Tom was a graduate of Hazel High School and Murray State University, and received a master’s degree from Indiana University. He taught school in Portageville, Missouri and Evansville, Indiana, as well as at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, where he also served as the sports publicity director. In later years he was a feature writer for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.
At his funeral service family and friends filled the South Pleasant Grove Methodist Church in Hazel, Kentucky to overflowing. They mourned his passing, but they also celebrated his life.
C. Ray Hall, a writer for the Courier-Journal of Murray said, “Joe Tom Erwin was known for bursts of booming laughter and long spells of reflective silence. He was, by all accounts, a complex man who achieved a simple life. He was a farm boy who read Albert Camus and listened to the music of Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald.”
“He was a great ambassador for Murray State,” said Ed Given, retired sports information director at Western Kentucky University. “He was always a lot of fun, and always had a smile on his face.”
Terri Erwin, a niece who is a child psychologist in Louisville, said her uncle “...achieved a life of simplicity without materialism.”
“Joe Tom was unique,” said Dwain McIntosh, a retired Murray State publicist. “He did it his way. An avid bird watcher, he had a great love for nature. He also played the role of mentor to countless people.”
Yes, Joe Tom Erwin was a unique individual. He never married, yet he was a family man in that he was a second father to many of his nieces and nephews. He was a friend to everyone, and mentor to many. He was a promoter as well. Not in the commercial sense, but he never passed up a chance to promote the Erwin family, in Calloway County of course, but in the state and around the country as well.
In later years Joe Tom built a home on the shores of Kentucky Lake near the little town of New Concord. There he enjoyed his retirement, fishing from the shore and taking frequent “bird-watching” forays into the countryside. He often hosted distant relatives at his home, even cooking up some of his favorite recipes for them. Your editor was fortunate to be a guest on two occasions.
Since he was indeed a unique individual, it was felt that his cemetery monument should be unique as well. A friend located a special stone near his home, one that Joe Tom often leaned against in his frequent quests for catfish. It was placed at his grave site at South Pleasant Grove Cemetery, and a special bronze plaque was cast to be placed on it. It reads simply:
Joe Tom Erwin
June 23, 1925
August 24, 2006