Genuine, kind, funny, reserved, a life too short
Clark was genuine, kind-hearted, soft-spoken, and a skilled listener. He talked with people about their interests, not his own, and made those he encountered feel important. Clark enjoyed the outdoors, guns, and time with family and friends; he liked taking things slow and savoring experiences. He enjoyed spending time with his dog Kemper and loved watching football, especially NC State.
Clark’s first years were spent in the British Virgin Islands in Tortola before the family moved to Virginia. In Virginia, he grew up on a farm riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers and developed a passion for animals. Summers were spent creating family memories at Lake Gaston and Ahmic Lake in Canada. The family also took cruises together, where Clark kept everyone laughing.
In high school, Clark was the #1 seed in tennis and after graduation earned his associate degree from Northern Virginia Community College. He later studied at Longwood University in the College of Business and Economics. During college, he worked at the Bank of America and one year received the Professional Teller of the Year Award for dependability and excellent customer service.
Prior to Clark’s active addiction he and his sister Brittany were “joined at the hip” and Clark spent time with his younger brothers Branson and Boulton, teaching them sports. His sister stated, “I miss that version of him and the fun we had, the memories we made, and the hope and happiness in his eyes.”
It was Clark’s nature to help others. His sister recalls when they were both at college and she was stuck at work because of a snowstorm. Clark came to get her and ended up getting trapped in snow overnight for nine hours. She said, “He never complained or asked for thanks. He was that person you could call anytime, anywhere, and he’d be there.”
In 2012, Clark was in a car accident that significantly affected his life trajectory. A cut on his foot became severely infected; and the compensation of bearing weight on his other leg led to painful knee issues. He was in agonizing pain and in and out of the hospital for several years. During the months Clark was confined to his apartment while healing, he became depressed and angry. His outlook on life changed. He stayed up all night and slept during the day. Family and friends couldn’t interact with Clark and became more distant. “It was hard to see him change so much from who we knew,” his sister said.
“People try to cover up issues (around addiction) but it doesn’t help,” his sister said, “We must speak up to benefit others.” When she thinks of Clark, she thinks of the quote, Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. “Substance use affects more people than we can imagine,” Brittany said. “The more we share and bring attention to it, the more people will talk about their struggles and get help.”
Clark’s sister, Brittany Deal, provided the information for this narrative.
January 14, 1990-November 29, 2020
Age 30-Lived with the disease of addiction 8 years.