Tributes to
J. Desmond Clark



I was an anthropology major at Cal, graduating in 1979. I studied with Dr. Clark for three years, and enjoyed every moment of it. One of my favorite memories is of a graduate seminar he held in his living room, which he invited a few undergraduates to take part. It was the first chance I really had to work with a professor on an intimate, casual basis, and it is here, and in a few other small sections that Dr. Clark showed his true gift, his true passion for teaching. (I was struck by the difference between Dr Clark in a small, intimate setting, versus in a lecture to a large audience, like in the Louis Leaky Lectures in 1979.)

About six or seven years after graduating, I wrote to Dr. Clark. I didn't follow up on my anthro studies, but went into the investment/trading business. I'd just read about some discovery he'd made, and wrote a short note to congratulate him, not thinking he'd remember me. He sent back a fairly long, type written (remember his handwriting?) note thanking me and mentioning how much he enjoyed hearing from his former students.

Here's the funny coincidence: This morning, on the site www., there was a thread asking posters for their favorite professor. I put in a quick note about Dr. Clark. This afternoon, my California Monthly arrived, and lo and behold, I find the beautiful obituary written by Dr. Tim White. Well, I guess I'm getting up there, but it's sad to realize that four of my favorite professors, Drs. Glynn Isaac, Sherwood Washburn, Jim Deetz, and now Dr. Clark, have all left us. Well, I guess in some ways, they'll never actually leave us.

Richard Fong, BA Anthropology, 1979