J. Desmond Clark
I have read with great interest
and sadness about the enormous impression that my grandfather appears
to have left on so many people's lives. It is of course, I believe,
in a mainly professional capacity that many of his colleagues and
students/ex-students will miss him. Clearly his vast contribution
to the world of Archeology will be hard to beat.
However, I will miss him as a grandfather,
both to me, and latterly as a great-grandfather to my daughter Victoria,
with whom he, rather to our (and I think his own!) surprise, had
a joyful relationship. He was certainly looking forward to being
able to see us on a regular basis after his final move back to the
UK. Sadly this was never to be.
Due to his many and frequent trips
on various field activities he didn't get to see much at times of
his children during their formative years. Later on, we as grandchildren
saw him at least on an annual basis, sometimes more, given that
we lived in Africa for many years, and have many fond memories of
him. One of my earliest memories is of his story-telling ability.
How many of you know this? We would climb into his bed in the morning,
and after the ritual beard pulling session, he would then launch
into the "Wolfie story". This story never varied from
year to year and we never tired of hearing it. Needless to say the
moral was don't cry "wolf" too often otherwise he'll eat
Later on, after I left school and
having taken a 'gap' year before going on to Durham University in
the UK, I spent quite sometime with Desmond and Betty in California.
It was at that time that I really got to know him as an adult, and
perhaps even gain some of his respect. I too have memories (during
this visit) of his clam bakes near the Cabin at Point Reyes. He
trying his best to persuade me that these slimy half cooked things
really are good to eat! In this I have to say he never succeeded.
It was also during this time that he was giving a lecture to a Society
(can't remember which) in San Francisco and Betty and I had go with
him. Well as a prospective student (and not of Archeology) I have
to say that I bedded myself down in the seat and prepared to be
bored, and possibly enjoy a nap, for the next hour and half. However,
I can honestly say that I had never heard before, and never have
since, such an interesting and enthusiastically delivered lecture.
I actually listened and learned. He clearly had the ability to carry
a whole audience with him right to the end. I envy all his students
to be taught by someone who had this ability and absolute enjoyment
of passing on this knowledge in such an approachable way, if this
is the correct word.
I can remember many a dinner conversation
spent on such a wide-ranging number of topics, on which he invariably
knew something. The only area where he lacked was in business, and
for someone who read Economics and has gone on into the world of
multi-nationals I have to say this type of conversation didn't hold
too much interest for him! Never mind there were plenty of others.
Grandpapa, you will be missed by
all of your family in one way or another. I hope you are meeting
old friends, family, especially your mother and brother, and having
a wild time with just the right amount of whiskey and good cigars.
Sarah Leijten-Clark - Granddaughter,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands