John Owen Clark, “Jack,” 92, died in Surry Dec. 10, 2017. He was born in Bar Harbor Nov. 18, 1925. His parents were Owen and Doris (Tate) Clark.
John attended Bar Harbor High School until his senior year, when he left to join the Army in December 1943. He completed basic training and intelligence reconnaissance training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. He always remembered running up “Perspiration Hill” at the end of an extended run and halfway up the hill seeing captured professional German soldiers in a prison camp who were “about as physically fit as a man could be.” After basic training he was transferred to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, where he received advanced combat training. There he was assigned to the “Fighting 69th” infantry division and shipped out to join the troops in Europe in July 1944.
His most memorable wartime recollections included traveling through wartime England, France and Belgium, relieving the 99th Division, crossing the Rhine, Leipzig and linking up with the Russian army on the Mulda River at Colditz. He was very proud of his military service and throughout his life he would tell fascinating stories to friends and family about his experiences during WWII.
After returning to the USA, John went to work with his father, O.J. Clark, who bottled milk by hand and delivered it to customers in the Bar Harbor area. Soon they became partners and eventually established and operated the milk processing plant known as “Clark’s Southwest Dairy” in Southwest Harbor. The site for the dairy was chosen because there was abundant pure water available from an artesian well on the property. Pure water was essential to clean the equipment and milk bottles. Today this location is the home of Mount Desert Spring Water. Many will remember Jack as their milkman until the dairy was sold in 1981.
Later in life he and his youngest son, John Jr., became avid collectors of Maine milk bottles, especially those from MDI. Together they would scour the internet, local farms and auctions to find examples dating back as far as 1918. John Jr. loaned part of his collection to the Bar Harbor Historical Society, where it is currently on display.
After selling the dairy, John moved to Gardiner, where he was a property assessor for the city of Gardiner. He was quickly promoted to the position of city assessing administrator until he retired and moved to Augusta, where he did property appraisals until he retired at the age of 80. He was a member of the American Legion.
John Clark Sr. is survived by son Thomas Clark and his wife, Valerie, who reside in Ellsworth, daughter Jennifer Clark Dam and her husband, Poul, who reside in Copenhagen, Denmark, son John Clark Jr. and his wife, Leanne, of Bar Harbor, grandson Henrik Clark Dam and his wife, Katrine, and their two children Victor and Emma in Copenhagen, Denmark. The family will hold a private gathering to honor his life.