Greg Clark made a name for himself in Vermont as a lawmaker serving the public for the past 10 years. He taught students for more than double that time. However, when you talk to those who knew him best, they'll tell you Greg Clark's life can't be measured in the bills he passed or the papers he graded, but in the lives he touched.
"He had a great sense of humor. He was warm. He cared about people a great deal," said Rep. Shap Smith, D-Vt. House Speaker.
"Great guy, loveable guy with tremendous wit and incredible sense of humor," said Rep. Kurt Wright, R-Burlington.
Clark was pronounced dead shortly after a dramatic car accident in Vergennes Friday morning. He was on his way to Mt. Abraham Union high school where he taught for nearly 20 years.
"The faculty is having a difficult time," said David Adams, the superintendent in Addison Northeast.
Flags at Mt. Abe were lowered to half-staff Friday in Clark's honor-- it was a custodian's idea. Students came up with the idea of writing Mr. Clark, or "Clarky" as they called him, notes to say goodbye. The more you learn about Greg Clark, the more you realize just how many people liked him. Even those who were just getting to know him.
"When I first met him I got a real strong sense of that twinkle in his eye and willingness to make things better for everybody," Adams said.
Clark served as a Republican representing Addison County in the Vermont House since 2003. As a teacher, he quickly found his way to the Education Committee. He also served the town of Vergennes as an alderman and deputy mayor.
Former Vt. Gov. Jim Douglas said, "He brought a balanced perspective that I think was very important to the legislative deliberations."
"He always was smart enough to bring us back to realizing we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously," Wright said.
Wright had Clark as a teacher in Vergennes High School.
"I just had to get used to not calling him Mr. Clark when he came to the Capitol," Wright said.
It was in Montpelier where their relationship shifted from teacher and student to colleague and friend, sitting side by side in the House.
"I certainly will miss him the most when I go to sit down in my seat in the Capitol and he's not there," Wright said.
Anecdotes from friends taught us Greg Clark was so much more to this state than a lawmaker; notes from his students showed he was far more than a teacher.
Clark had just been elected to a sixth term in the house. Traditionally, the governor will appoint a representative from the deceased candidate's party to fill his seat. Gov. Peter Shumlin had this to say Friday, "More than anything, I will miss Greg's smile, his sense of humor and his friendship at the Statehouse."
Clark is survived by his wife, Eileen, and two children.
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