A life lived without joy just isn’t done right, and Leon Clark found elements of fun and joy in everything that came his way. His secret was simple enough - dedicate yourself to others and embrace the power of a good laugh. Nobody was alone when Leon was around, in fact, he was everyone's best friend. He blessed our lives through tireless service, always first in line to help or to provide a needed hug or listening ear.
Named after his father; he was born in Ogden, Utah, April 22, 1937, to Reuben and Fern Lucille Richins Clark. He had an older sister, Valeen, and later two more boys, Brent and Merrill, completed the family He spent all of his growing up years in Ogden, attending Polk School, Central Junior High School, Ogden High School, and Weber Junior College.
Leon’s life-long love of playing the trumpet and coronet began at the age of eight when he became a student of a masterful teacher, Faye Hanson. He developed friendships at that time which continue to this day. Leon was big for his age and wanted to play football in high school, but without the protection of good mouth guards at the time, his dentist-father was reluctant to allow him to do so. Instead, Leon Ied the pep band while wishing he were on the field. Years later, he discovered that the glory days of those football players were long over, and he could still play a pretty mean horn! He greatly enjoyed playing in high school and college bands and orchestras and in community bands in Ojai, California, and Ogden, Utah, for many years.
After serving a two-year mission in California for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he returned home and discovered a girl in his 'own back yard,' Peggy Newman, a fellow member of the Mount Ogden Ward. They spent a year dating while attending Brigham Young University and married on August 19, 1960, in the Salt Lake Temple. A week later they were off to California where Leon attended the University of Southern California School of Dentistry and Peggy taught school.
Graduation from dental school in 1964 brought new opportunities and experiences as Leon enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, for three years. During this time, they were blessed with the birth of two children, Sharon and Gary. And then it was time for a major decision - where to spend the next thirty or so years of their lives.
Ventura, California, beckoned to them. A new dental practice; two more children, Stephanie and Kristin; an eventual move to nearby Ojai; another baby, Heather; an Apache Indian foster son, Howard; the adoption of Andy, Jason, and Kevin, and two years later, Brian; these were busy years indeed!
Leon served in Church callings which included bishoprics, Bishop, high councilor, and cub scout leader, but his very most favorite calling was as Young Men's President/Priest Advisor/Explorer Leader, and he was blessed to have this calling many times over the years.
As such, he could remain forever 16 and influence the lives of countless young men who have since followed his example when working with youth. He and Peggy also served a senior couple mission in 2009-2010 at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center.
Leon could not have chosen a better vocation - he loved being able to serve his patients, and they loved him. After 33 years of practice, he retired in 2001 and moved to Riverton, Utah, only to continue doing humanitarian service, accompanied by Peggy, in such diverse places as the Philippines, Tonga, Korea, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala, China, Israel, Vietnam, Uganda, Samoa, Zimbabwe, and at the Midvale Clinic for the next 18 years. During those years, Leon and Peggy also enjoyed traveling by land tours and cruises to isles of the sea and countries on every continent except Antarctica.
Leon's creative hands were never idle, yielding an artist's paintbrush, forming pottery pieces, writing accounts of his various exploits, filing important life events in his extensive journals, always searching for ways to 'make a better mousetrap' and repairing broken objects all over the world with "shoo-goo." His most enjoyable hobby in the past few years was to share ideas with Brian Crane, the creator of the Pickles comic strip. Brian has been able to use about 200 of Leon's ideas including the most recent which was published three days after Leon's death.
Leon is survived, loved, admired, revered, and will be greatly missed by his wife, Peggy; eight children: Gary (Tara) Clark, Madison, Alabama; Stephanie (Corey) Beebe, Rigby, Idaho; Brian Clark, Ventura, California; Kristin Clark, Springville, Utah; Andy Clark, San Jose, California; Heather (Mark) Petersen, Lehi, Utah; Jason Clark, Las Vegas, Nevada; and Kevin Clark, Yokohama, Japan; son-in-law Doug Jackson, Provo, Utah; nineteen grandchildren and four spouses; eight great-grandchildren; brothers Brent (Karen) Clark, Farmington, Utah; and Merrill (Joyce) Clark, Tustin, California. He is preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Valeen (Grant) Wood; and daughter, Sharon Jackson.
The funeral will be held at Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary, 1007 So. Jordan Parkway, South Jordan, at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 8. A.viewing at the mortuary the previous night from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. will be open to the public. Covid restrictions will apply with social distancing and masks being required. The funeral itself will be limited to those who have been invited. A graveside service and burial will be held at the Lehi City Cemetery following the funeral. The funeral will be live-streamed at https://www.jenkins-soffe.com and will be available for viewing for 90 days after.
We would like to thank the medical staff at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Utah as well as the staff of Community Nursing Service hospice for their excellent treatment and loving care of Leon. Plants and flowers adorning a funeral are beautiful but not as long lasting as the permanent good that can be done for others; instead of flowers, please consider a donation to Huntsman Cancer Institute, Primary Children’s Medical Center, or a charity of your choice, where countless lives can continue to be blessed.
- Survived By
- Peggy, wife
- Gary (Tara) Clark, Child
- Stephanie (Corey) Beebe, Child
- Brian Clark, Child
- Kristin Clark, Child
- Andy Clark, Child
- Heather (Mark) Petersen, Child
- Jason Clark, Child
- Kevin Clark, Child
- Doug Jackson, Son-in-Law
- 19, Grandchildren
- 8, Great Grandchildren
- Brent (Karen) Clark, Brother
- Merrill (Joyce) Clark, Brother
- Preceded in Death By
- Valeen (Grant) Wood, Sister
- Sharon Jackson, Daughter
Life Story Info
“In lieu of flowers...”https://give.huntsmancancer.org/page/23908/donate/1
Primary SchoolPolk School
Middle SchoolCentral Junior High School
High SchoolOgden High School
Associate'sWeber Junior College
Bachelor'sBrigham Young University
DoctorateUniversity of Southern California
The day that I met Dr. Clark, he changed my life. Even though it was only working with him for one day I still thought of him often. Then several years later he came into my life again while I was working for the Midvale Clinic. We worked together again for several years and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him on a professional level and even more grateful to have known him on a personal level, and to know Peggy, and meet two of his children. He gave me a piece of his pottery, an owl, that I will always cherish.