J. Desmond Clark
I got to know Desmond while working
as his editorial assistant for several months on the third Kalambo
Falls volume. He and my husband Gary had been friends for years,
and I had met him at social events, but this was when I got to know
him. It was a difficult time there had been frustrating setbacks
in assembling the volume, and Desmond's eyesight was failing
so I suppose our friendship was forged in fire.
What struck me most about Desmond
at the time was the passionate commitment with which he applied
himself to his work, even while he could not read the words he was
writing on the pages of his manuscript. Although he could not see
well enough to recognize my face if I were standing in front of
him, he would walk by himself to pick up his mail in another building
or to meet a friend for lunch. He was not too proud to ask for help
when he needed it, but he pushed the limits of what his eyesight
would allow him to do, and I admired him for it.
As I got to know Desmond better,
my appreciation for him grew. I always looked forward to the great
conversations we'd have at dinners and parties at his and Betty's
home. He was as interested in talking about Gilbert and Sullivan
operettas or Northern California natural history as he was in talking
about archaeology and prehistory. Betty, in turn, would entertain
us with amusing and wonderfully articulate stories about their rich
life together. Gary and I have many happy memories of the gracious
hospitality for which Desmond and Betty were famous.
Last but not least, Desmond had
a warm heart and a generous spirit. I will miss him.
Rebecca Jabbour, CUNY