Cover photo for Donald Eugene Clark's Obituary
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1931 Donald 2022

Donald Eugene Clark

November 12, 1931 — May 4, 2022

Dr. Donald (Don) Eugene Clark of Shawnee, Oklahoma passed away on May 4th, 2022 at the age of 90. He was born on November 12th, 1931 to Dulie Elmos Clark and Willie Louise Clark in Murray County, Oklahoma. After graduating from Sulphur High School, he went on to study vocal performance at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Don’s university training was interrupted by the Korean War. He served as a Sergeant in the United States Air Force Band at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, where he was a clarinetist and drum major. Don soon became a vocal soloist for the band. On orders from his Commanding Officer, he began teaching his fellow bandsmen to sing. In the process, Don discovered what was to become his lifelong passion, teaching people to sing. Shortly thereafter, Don founded and directed the band’s Glee Club choir. Don met his future wife, Wanda Fern Grant, at a youth rally in the nearby community of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Don was asked to sing at the youth rally, but he needed someone to accompany him on the piano. Wanda was quickly recruited by her friends to play piano, and thus began a life-long love affair between the two. He and Wanda married in 1954. Don completed his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from OBU in 1958. Shortly thereafter, Don and Wanda moved to Pocahontas, Arkansas where Don taught music at the local high school. They later moved to Nashville, Tennessee where Don became chair of the music department at Free Will Baptist Bible College. While in Nashville, Don earned his Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Don later earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma. In 1967 Don was recruited by Dean Warren M. Angell of Oklahoma Baptist University to teach vocal performance at his beloved alma mater. Don’s zeal for teaching kept him at OBU for 38 years. After retiring from OBU, Don served as an adjunct professor at Saint Gregory’s University for 8 years. He also traveled to Italy for 15 summers to teach and perform as a soloist. Don taught voice students in the family home until 2020, with Wanda accompanying students on the piano. Don performed in over 40 operas, oratorios and cantatas. He also sang in countless recitals. As a graduate student, Don was a finalist in a national singing competition hosted by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Don touched innumerable lives with his beautiful baritone singing voice. Perhaps most importantly, Don inspired hundreds of students over the course of his career. He taught them to become the best musicians they could be. He inspired his students to try things they thought they could not do. He showed them how to push boundaries with confidence. He helped them grow as individuals. Don and Wanda have been members of First/United Presbyterian Church of Shawnee for 54 years. Don’s belief in glorifying God through music led him to direct church choirs most of his adult life, the longest being First/United Presbyterian Church, and the most recent being Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Shawnee. Don was a devoted, loving husband and father to his wife and five children, and will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Don was preceded in death by his daughter, Donna Fern Clark, his parents, and siblings Elma Clark Norwood, Alma Lorene Landers and Carl M. Clark. Don is survived by Wanda, his wife of 68 years, his children David (Elizabeth) Clark, Paul (Brenda) Clark, Ken (Kelly) Clark and Sharon Clark Jackson, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Donald E. and Wanda F. Clark Scholarship Fund for music students at Oklahoma Baptist University at: https://www.okbu.edu/giving/make-a-gift.html [okbu.edu] or by mail at: Oklahoma Baptist University, 500 W. University Avenue, Shawnee, OK 74804. Please reference Clark Scholarship Fund with donations. Visitation will be from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at Walker Funeral and Cremation Service in Shawnee, OK. Funeral services will be 10:00 A.M. Thursday, May 19, 2022 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Shawnee, OK. The funeral service can be viewed live at the following link: https://youtube.com/channel/UCqicq_2Sh67oNddl8SdJjnA. Burial will be 3:00 P.M. Thursday, May 19, 2022 at Oaklawn Cemetery in Sulphur, OK.
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