GREENVILLE, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – At 10:05 p.m., on Monday, February 10, 2020 the Angel’s Band gained the best damn roadie this side of the Mississip as Uncle -By God- Ricky held his mamma’s hand while he made the leap into the great there-after. In typical Uncle fashion, he was surrounded by his earthly family and friends, all rooting him on to his next grand adventure. You could dang near feel the clouds shake as he met his father, brothers, uncles and all his past friends and family at the final campfire beyond.
Born his daddy’s namesake, Richard Joseph Clark busted onto the scene on May 10, 1956. It was on that day that the world became a brighter, gentler, kinder place. Love flowed freely from Uncle like the water in the rivers he loved to paddle so very much.
He attended Reynolds and Hickory High Schools and fixed anything that could be fixed as he held many a skilled trade job in the Shenango Valley and surrounding areas.
Always giving so much of himself to all those around him, his love for his friends and family was so great, he somehow along the way forgot how to love himself. Uncle battled many internal demons as a young man. Even a man as strong as Uncle could not carry his burden forever. In the early 1990s Uncle retreated to the hill country of Texas where he continued to give of himself and light up his little corner of the world while he worked to overcome the darkness within himself. His time in Texas was off the grid but he continued to live for others, make stories and rub elbows with some greats in the Texas music scene including Billy Gibbons of ZZ-Top. It was during these darkest years of his life that Uncle put the work in to bring forth the beautiful soul he would become.
With the loss of his brother, Raymond, in the summer of 2016, Uncle sprang forth from his metamorphosis, spread his wings and flew back to his family and thus began Uncle’s second act.
His second act was SPECTACULAR.
For the next and last three and a half years of his life, Uncle made an unmeasurable impact on so many people. His first love, his mother, Margaret “Pegge” Clark, became his single most important priority. He doted on his mamma day and night. Uncle filled his mother’s life with smiles, adventure, cups of coffee and the home-cooked meals he took such great pride in. He rebuilt strong, important relationships with all of his family. He loved his “Sissy”, Ruth Chapman and her family with a love that was true, deep and seemingly unending. He taught an entire new generation of great-nieces and nephews what true selflessness and unconditional love looks like. He formed lasting bonds with all of his great-nieces and nephews but he held a special type of fondness for his “Bro”, his great-niece, Sophia.
It seemed that the only ones that did not treasure Uncle’s return were the trout and smallmouth bass in the rivers and creeks of Western Pennsylvania. Uncle’s time away from the streams did nothing but hone his fish catching prowess to a razors edge. Equipped with a second hand fishing pole, a broken down kayak and a can of Bondo, he was nothing short of a fish catching machine. Few things brought a bigger toothless grin to Unc’s face than floating down the rivers with his Bubbas. Uncle was a founding elder of the fabled 5’C’s camp. Every trip to his happy place in Elk County was the “bestest” time and he was grateful for each and every visit.
Shortly after his return, he went to work with several craftsmen in the area with whom he built strong bonds. He formed beautiful relationships and made old houses beautiful again. He was proud of his work and his abilities and would show his handiwork to anyone who would take the time to see it.
It was around this time that Uncle started a new job and adventure as the head roadie and crew chief for his favorite band, Juvenile Characteristics. He quickly became an integral part of the band, using every bit of his soaking wet 140 lbs. to haul cases, instruments and speakers on and off every stage in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. He loved the band, “His Boys” as he referred to them, almost frantically. Proud of his band and the job he did, he lived for Saturday nights. He spread joy and happiness to uncountable people and all the girls lined up to get a dance with him. Uncle never failed to get the prettiest girl on her feet and swinging around the dance floor. A true dancing fool, he would love to dance with everyone but would always save Copperhead Road to dance with his “Tut” if she was there.
Uncle is now cutting a rug in Heaven with his father, Dick; Uncle Jack; his brothers, Ward and Raymond and the rest of his friends and family that have gone before.
Still here and waiting for the day when they get to dance with him again are his beloved mamma, Margaret “Pegge” Clark; adored sister, Ruth Chapman and her husband, Rick; nieces, Marni Brooks, Maragret Henderson and Tricia Gegory; nephews, Shawn Clark, George Clark, Nick Chapman, Kris Chapman, Jason Sample and Jason Hummel, as well as, their families and a passel of great-nieces and nephews. In addition, Ricky was “Uncle” to the innumerable people he touched.
Uncle never quit teaching all those around him but two of the most important lessons he taught were:
1. Never waste a second chance to make things right. Uncle made every moment of his second act count. He never missed a chance to mend all bridges he had burned and right any and all wrongs. Uncle learned from, and then made up for, any and all past transgressions. Uncle passed into what is beyond as a glowing vessel of kindness, without a single enemy.
2. May ALL your actions be filled with love and kindness. Much like the Grinch’s heart after Christmas, Uncle’s heart was three sizes too big. As one of his friends said, “When Uncle said he loved you, you KNOW he meant it and he said it A LOT!” His simple life he lived for others, always searching for ways to make everyone else’s life easier. Uncle would never have a conversation where he didn’t ask, “How can I help?” “What can I do for you?” Any penny he earned he quickly spent on others. He would give everything he had to see someone smile, and often he did exactly that. As another friend of his is fond of saying, “There has never been a happier man that had nothing.” Uncle lightened the mood of every room he was in, and he somehow managed to make each and every person feel special.
So there it is, a terribly incomplete story about a man who never met a squirrel he couldn’t wrangle, a bear he couldn’t train, a ridge he couldn’t run, a fish he couldn’t catch, a bar-room story he couldn’t make better, a dog he wouldn’t feed and roll around on the floor with, a pretty lady he couldn’t twirl, a chord he couldn’t roll, or a child he couldn’t make smile. Uncle Ricky had such a profound impact on the others around him. A true success story of a man who made good on the chance to make everything right, and left all he came in contact with a better person. There is zero doubt this world is a better place because of Uncle Ricky Clark.
A seemingly Tall-Tale of a man, whose legend will never die. Uncle -By God- Ricky will live in eternity, immortalized forever in campfire stories, and in the twinkle of the eyes of all he came in contact with. It has been said often about Uncle Ricky, “That to know him is to love him.” We knew you Uncle……………..We knew you well.
Now let the sun shine upon you, as you spread your wings and fly,
You’re finally home.
You’re finally home.
You are finally home.
All are invited and welcomed to celebrate Uncle Ricky Clark’s life at a memorial service held at the Greenville Alliance Church, 63 Conneaut Lake Road, Greenville, PA 16125, at 12:00 Noon on Friday, February 14.
Bring a story to tell, or just come and be surrounded by loved ones as we celebrate a life well lived.
In lieu of flowers, Uncle and his family are asking for donations to his “Bro’s” special needs skating program, Gliding Stars of Erie. Visit their website at www.glidingstars.org or call Linda Althof, Coordinator, at 814-825-5555 to see how you can honor Uncle’s legacy and donate.
Arrangements handled by Osborne-Williams Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc.
To send flowers to the family of Richard Joseph Clark, Jr., please visit Tribute Store.
A television tribute will air Friday, February 14, at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV.