Clark Gleason

Clark G. "Jerry" Gleason

1931 - 2020

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Obituary of Clark G. Gleason

At the fulcrum of his life, Clark G. “Jerry” Gleason gazed deeply into the eyes of his bride Nancy (Roe) at the alter and, so overcome by her beauty and their joy, promptly lost his voice just as he was supposed to be saying “I do.” Resilient man that he was, Jerry quickly recovered that August day and the two voted “Sweetest Smiles” in their South Haven HS Class of ‘49 but since separated by war and schooling soon celebrated their wedding and the promise of the continuation of love to come over the next 55 years of marriage. Born September 25, 1931 in Placerville, CA, to Dorothy C. and Clark H. Gleason, Jerry moved over 30 times by the time he turned 32, taking him throughout the world before settling in Santa Rosa, CA for 50 years then returning to Cameron Park and Placerville, where he passed away from complications of poor circulation on May 10. Growing up, Jerry joined the YMCA, and sang in the church choir until 4th grade. Jerry’s parents divorced in 1939, and both remarried. At age 9 he completed the mile swim at camp; at 11 he became a camp counselor as World War II claimed the attention of older youth and adults. He played high school football, swimming, tennis, and the trombone. Transferring to South Haven HS his junior year, he served as Sr. Class President. Every summer, Jerry would work at Windcliff House, the family resort on Lake Michigan, as either a lifeguard or on the 40-acre farm, in addition to other after-school jobs such as at the grocery store, mopping the barber shop and caring for coal furnaces all as part of the homefront war efforts. Jerry started at Albion College, Michigan first focusing on a degree as a forester, and during the summer of 1950 he worked as a compass man on a survey crew of the USFS in Sierra National Forest, CA. He became a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. His sophomore year though, he was drafted by the Army, but instead joined the Air Force for the Korean/Cold War, travelling to Texas for basic training and gaining assignment to Army Language School to learn Russian at Syracuse University, New York for a year. In 1952, Jerry was stationed in Bremerhaven and Darmstadt, Germany and in early 1953 in Tripoli, Libya, North Africa before being honorably discharged in early 1954. After the war, he attended the University of Michigan where he re-met Nancy and their love flourished. They married August 19, 1956 and welcomed daughter Holly (b. 1957). Jerry transferred to Albion College in 1957 graduating with a degree in Economics, minoring in Political Science and Russian language in 1958, and soon welcomed sons Barry (b. 1958) and Tom (b. 1960). Jerry’s first “real” job was with Cummins Engineer Co. and Cummins Diesel in Columbus, IN, Cambridge, MA, and Santa Rosa, CA. In Santa Rosa he also worked at Stevenson Equipment Co. selling logging and construction equipment from Ukiah north to the Oregon border. From February 1967 – June 1992, Jerry worked for State Farm Insurance Company as an underwriter and supervisor, welcoming daughter Wendy (b. 1969). Jerry is fondly remembered as a kind man, one who often would help a friend. Jerry was also fun-loving: as a young man, he and some friends were seen parading past the holiday-decorated windows of the dining hall at Windcliff House through the snow sporting summer swim trunks and surf-boards heading to the Lake Michigan beach adjacent to the Beach House he helped build; with leave during the war, he could be found driving his motorcycle through parts of Africa and exploring Europe; or posing for pictures in funny attire or talking like Donald Duck to delight his family and grandkids. Jerry was a man of service, joining the Air Force where he learned to love coffee given the consequences should a soldier fall asleep at post during night watch; later as a church deacon; and as Boy Scout Scoutmaster of Troop 32 in Santa Rosa leading his sons and other scouts on 50-mile backpacking trips complete with midnight close encounters by investigative bears and tent city pre-trip gear checks in his backyard. A dedicated and loving family man, he was always willing to engage in and pause dinner discussions to consult a well-used copy of Encyclopedia Britannica for facts and figures. He also enjoyed taking his 1928 Ford Model A on trips with the Redwood Empire Antique Car Club and in the Kenwood Parade; playing golf, bowling, cheering the Oakland Raiders, enjoying nightly Dixieland Jazz music; travelling with Nancy to explore New Zealand, Russia, Germany, Ireland and Mexico among others; the meditative joy of a good game of solitaire; genealogy; and in recent years sharing meals, church, and wine club with his friends at Ponte Palmero Independent Living. Preceded in death by his parents, brother Lee, wife Nancy, and daughter Holly, Jerry leaves behind children Barry (Nancy), Tom (Sue), and Wendy (Rob); sisters-in-law Lorana and Julie, son-in-law Rich, nieces Kathy and Marne, his Joslyn family, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The family appreciates the care given to him by friends and staff at Ponte Palmero, and to his caregivers at Marshall Hospital and Western Slopes rehabilitation. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Hannah Boys Center (Sonoma, CA). “This strip of light, twixt night and night, let me keep bright today. Let no thought of yesterday, nor shadow of tomorrow; bedim today. I’ll take this gift from heaven as simply as ‘tis given. And though tomorrow should be sad or never come at all, I have today.” -author unknown With the pandemic continuing, a memorial will be held when safe to do so.
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