William Johnson Clark (Bill) went to be with Jesus on September 9, 2019, as the result of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident while parked along the side of the highway he helped build just outside of Wisdom, Montana. He was born on January 11, 1937, to John William Clark I and Virginia Elizabeth Johnson in Hampton, Virginia. Bill grew up fishing, hunting and exploring the back wood creeks and beaches in the small fishing community of Fox Hill, Virginia.
He attended Buckroe Junior High where he met his future wife, Virginia Frances Watson. They attended high school as sweethearts and enjoyed swimming and barbecues at Grandview Beach and bull frogging on the Chickahominy River. Bill was a standout athlete in football, baseball and fast pitch softball for the Hampton High Crabbers, winning multiple state championships. After graduation in 1955, Bill joined the Army.
On August 17, 1956, Bill and Frances were married in The Central Methodist Church in Fox Hill, Virginia. Bill was stationed at the United States Continental Army Command Headquarters at Fort Monroe. They moved to Germany when Bill was transferred there. Bill and Frances returned state side to Fort Eustis and he was honorably discharged. They then had two daughters, Belle and Ellen.
In 1961, the family moved to Montana traveling around the state where Bill worked heavy construction and Frances was a housewife and mother. They moved their trailer from job to job around Montana, eventually building their own home in Victor and settling down in one place so their daughters could attend school. A third daughter, Bonnie, was born and the couple started their own company with Bill’s brother, Clark Brothers Contracting. They were instrumental in building the interstate system across Montana including Bozeman Pass to Livingston, Big Timber and Reed Point of Interstate 90, as well as hundreds of miles of Forest Service roads. Some of their most notable jobs included the Mount Saint Helen’s Volcano Clean Up, the Dworshak Dam in Idaho and Lost Trail Pass. He later formed his own drilling and blasting company, Ajax Contracting, which he operated until the time of his death.
Bill enjoyed hunting, fishing, and attending his children’s, grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s athletic events. He was chairman of the Victor School Board for six years and oversaw the building of what is now the current gymnasium and shop. He was an avid baseball and football fan, and played softball well into his 60’s. He loved to spend time with family, especially at his vacation home (known as Bill’s House) on the Hirschy Ranch in the Big Hole Valley of Montana.
He was preceded in death by his mother, father, older brother, John W. Clark II, and his wife, Frances of 62 years. He is survived by his brother, James (Jim) Clark (Patty), 3 daughters, Belle Burrington (Kris), Ellen Kittel (David), Bonnie Taylor (Rick), all of Victor, Montana and Rolland “Babe” Schrader (Ilene) of Grantsdale, Montana who was raised as a son by Bill and Frances; fiancé, Janet Johnson of Victor, and 7 grandchildren, Michelle Hoffman (Rich), Lindsey Gensemer (Corey), Amanda Lesnik (Drew), Kristen Hansen (Kiel), Eric Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Matthew Kittel and 9 great grandchildren, as well as several nephews and nieces.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Victor Community Church on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at 11:00 am with a luncheon to follow at the Neely Center in Victor. Donations may be made to Victor Community Church, The Bitterroot Church of the Nazarene or Victor School Athletics in honor of Bill.
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