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James Russell Clark
August 7, 1931-November 13, 2018
James Russell Clark.jpg

James Russell Clark, 87, the founder of West Sacramento-based Clark Pacific, died peacefully at home in El Macero, on November 13, 2018 in the loving embrace of his wife, Sharron, and his family.   

   A fourth-generation Californian, Jim was born August 7, 1931 in Lompoc. His father was a blacksmith in the gold mines, and Jim grew up during the depression in Grass Valley (where he burned down their barn when he was eight he never had a cigarette since!) and Manteca as the third of four children. Even as a child, Jim loved building. At the young age of 14, he converted a chicken coop into a home where the family lived for 30 years.

   Jim attended UC Berkeley. Helped in part by a football scholarship (a 3rd string lineman and a member of the legendary “Pappy’s Boys”), Jim paid his own way through college. Even while spending many hours practicing football, cleaning the stadium, working at the post office, and studying civil engineering, he was never too busy to see life as a fun adventure. During the school year, he loved practical jokes like disturbing the Bowles Hall dorm by secretly rolling a bowling ball down the loud halls of the second floor.   During the summers he enjoyed exciting times working as a logger.

   After receiving his BS in 1953, Jim joined the US Marine Corps as a 1st Lieutenant for two years.  Jim then embarked on his career in San Francisco, earning both his civil and structural engineering licenses.  San Francisco was where he met and married the love of his life, Sharron Kinch, soon to be a Stanford nursing graduate. Jim and Sharron recently celebrated 61 years of marriage; their deep and unconditional love only grew stronger over time.  People who interacted with Jim and Sharron regularly commented on how apparent Jim’s love was for her, even when he was hardly able to move or speak.  

   Jim and Sharron moved to Sacramento in 1963 when Jim took a job at Continental Heller. In 1965, he transferred to a small subsidiary, Tecon Pacific, in West Sacramento as the General Manager. He became a partner in 1978 and in 1991, Jim and his sons, Bob and Don, purchased the remaining portion of the business and changed the name to Clark Pacific. Jim believed in hiring “only people you would like to take home to dinner.”  He loved his work! His integrity, energy, persistence and leadership helped Clark Pacific become one of the largest manufacturers of prefabricated building systems in the country.  In 1970 Jim became a West Sacramento Rotarian, where he developed many lasting friendships.     

   Jim’s most fulfilling role was being a husband and a father. He and Sharron raised their five children along the Sacramento River. They renovated an old country home, where the family raised dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, goats, donkeys, horses, rabbits, even a pet crow and Bingo the monkey. Along with their country- living adventures, they all enjoyed camping, white water rafting, motor home trips, and boating together. While boating, Jim told the children, “You’d better be good swimmers because if this boat sinks, I’m saving your mother first.”   

   Family was truly the most important thing for Jim. As the family grew, Jim loved being with every one of his children’s spouses, his 19 grandchildren, their spouses, and his 12 great grand- children. Each family member has endless stories full of joy and love from their close relationship with Jim.  

   Jim and Sharron loved adventure travel.  Their adventures spanned the world from safaris in Africa to trekking the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, from boating on the Amazon to exploring the Galapagos Islands; from scuba diving in Fiji to swimming at the North Pole.   Yes, Jim jumped in the Arctic Ocean, much to Sharron’s consternation!         

   Jim approached the onset of Parkinson’s Disease in the mid-1990s with the same determination that he brought to all other life challenges. He strategized with researchers, physicians, and his family to make a plan to allow him to continue a vibrant life at each stage of the progressive illness which accompanied him for the next 22 years. “I may not be on top of my game for the next 20 years but I will have the great satisfaction of knowing I gave it my best shot.”  And he did.   He stayed positive throughout, doing regular exercise lessons (he could do a 5-minute plank even when he could barely walk), taking singing lessons (despite being tone-deaf) from grandson Grant’s wife, Michele, and repeatedly getting up after falls.  He continually focused on others, tirelessly trying to understand their lives and encourage them even as conversation became challenging. His wife’s immeasurable loving devotion and strength and the support of his family helped him to fight a great fight.  

  Jim’s winning smile, unending energy, great sense of humor, and love for his wife, family, and community will be dearly missed and always remembered.   

  Jim Clark is survived by his wife, Sharron Clark, their five children, Robin (Bill) Bevier of Rescue, Maureen (Dennis) Guerrieri of Davis,  Don (Karen) Clark of Clarksburg, Bob (Margot) Clark of El Macero,  and Tracy (Chris) Ferragamo of El Macero, and their grandchildren: Stephanie (Neil) Panziera, Amanda (John) Bailey, Douglas James (Hannah) Bevier, Clark (Jessica) Guerrieri, Sharron (Martin) Scheiber, Grant (Michele) Guerrieri, Lauren (Jay) Adams, Laura Clark, Alexis Clark, Sally Clark, James Clark, Emily Clark, Sarah Clark, Hannah Clark, Claire Clark, Austin Shaw, Trevor Shaw, Brook (Martin) Ferragamo and Gino Ferragamo, as well as 12 dearly beloved great grand- children.

   The family would like to thank Dr. Caroline Tanner of the Parkinson’s Institute at Stanford, Dr. Paul Riggle, Jennifer Miramontes (exceptional Medical Exercise Specialist), Emmett King, Letitia Herrara, Ivett Serrotos, and Tesedenya Wolde for their loving care.  

Friends and family are invited to the Sutter Club, (1220 9th Street) on November 28, for a memorial service at 11:00 and a reception at 12:30 celebrating Jim’s life.

   In lieu of flowers, the family requests any remembrances to be sent to the West Sacramento Rotary Foundation, to be used for scholarships, PO Box 288, West Sacramento, CA 95691. 

El Macero

Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin

Saturday, November 24, 2018