News from Cardigan

One of Cardigan’s Best: A Morning for Dudley Clark H’05
Date: 07/31/2018

Dudley ClarkBy Christopher Adams, Director of Communications & Marketing

I only met John Dudley Clark III H’05 in the last weeks of his life. One might say I barely knew him, or that the Dudley I know is the man of your stories. 

Dudley passed away quietly the morning of May 26, 2018. The following day, we observed a moment of silence for him at Commencement, knowing that we would be celebrating his life more fully soon.

Video: Watch highlights from Dudley Clark's Celebration of Life

On the morning of June 16, more than 200 people arrived on The Point to celebrate the life of one of Cardigan’s best. These included members of the Cardigan community, past and present; members of Dudley’s family, traveling from home and abroad; there were even representatives of King School and Rippowam Cisqua School, where Dudley had taught over forty years ago.

Gallery: See photos from Dudley Clark's Celebration of Life

Dudley ClarkGuests first noticed the Cardigan bus parked on the Rymer Patio, where Dudley spent most Tuesday morning breaks selling donuts to the boys. A closer look at Dudley’s usual perch revealed that his name is now engraved there in granite, and was adorned on that day by flowers and a photo of Dudley in his youth. Nearby, children climbed on the Zamboni Dudley had gifted to Cardigan, and alumni took turns having pictures taken of themselves sitting on his ubiquitous moped.

Inside, donuts. Dozens and dozens of them. After enjoying a donut or two, guests wandered into the Powers Room, which had been transformed into a living museum. It seemed Dudley held on to everything, surrounding himself with happy memories of the people and places he loved. It was all here to help us recall those shared good times. Photographs. Yearbooks. A hockey referee jersey. His Proctor Academy diploma, and the three senior awards he won while there. Seven “Heart of the Cougar” ribbons. Hundreds of books. A framed letter from the President of Zamboni & Co.

Dudley ClarkHead of School Chris Day P’12,’13 welcomed guests to the formal portion of the morning’s program. After a beautiful opening prayer by Director of Spiritual Life Charles Lister-James, several people spoke about their teacher, their colleague, and their friend. Athletic Director Ryan Frost began by reading a letter from the Finnish Alumni, which was followed by reflections shared by former School Leader Adam Philie ’10; Beverly Wakely H’01,P’70,’73,’75; and Dudley’s cousin Russell Clark.

Then we turned our attention to the video screens in the Kenly Dining Hall, where a lengthy photo montage celebrated Dudley’s life in a way that perhaps words could not. Near the end of the video, we even heard a few words from Dudley himself, recorded in 2013.

Former Parent Association President Dr. Lisa Drummond P’11,’13 offered an emotional reflection after the montage, and was followed by other insights on Dudley’s legacy shared by longtime staff member Rick Kahn H’17; former Assistant Head of School Jamie Funnell H’09, P’07,’09; former faculty member Dr. John D’Entremont ’94; and current faculty member Al Gray H’12, P’14,’16. The words flowed, and tears did too. A common theme in these tributes was an appeal to every person present to continue Dudley’s legacy of caring, a request that we hold ourselves accountable for loving others and doing good in the world.

Later that evening, it occurred to me that perhaps I had a stronger connection to Dudley than I had realized. His extraordinary influence on so many people was tangible that day, and I left feeling like I really knew him. As these stories continue to be told, I suspect others will share that feeling, and perhaps that is the best indication of a life well-lived.

I’ll certainly never look at a Zamboni the same way again.
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