Alan Dale Clark, 94, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 1, at Maple Grove in Ashburn, VA.
Born in Millville, NJ, on October 15, 1923, Dale was the son of the late Elsie and Alan S. Clark. Dale graduated Millville High School and then attended The College of William and Mary where he met his wife, Jackie, in the choir. He and Jackie shared 68 loving years together.
Dale was a man of intensity and boundless energy who was also blessed with considerable natural talents as an athlete, visual artist and singer. He was a four-sport letterman in high school (football, basketball, track and baseball) and attended William and Mary on a football scholarship. His artwork ranged from seemingly simple sketches through caricatures and cartoons to landscapes but most striking are the numerous pen and ink or charcoal portraits of family members, friends, associates and prominent public persons in his life. His clear tenor voice enriched the sound of choirs, choruses and other vocal groups in which he participated … including the Fairfax Jubilaires of which he was a founding member … though he was perhaps happiest performing as a soloist and as a member of the barbershop quartet, the Forefathers, with whom he traveled and performed for some forty years.
World War II interrupted Dale’s time at William and Mary. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and returned to Williamsburg following his discharge. After William and Mary, Jackie and Dale married and moved back to Northern Virginia where Jackie had grown up and remained there (primarily in Vienna) for the remainder of their lives.
Dale parlayed his fine arts talents into a career that began with commercial illustrations and similar graphic content and progressed into the layout of promotional/educational materials and trade publications. By this time he had found a niche in the world of trade associations and discovered another aptitude in meeting and conference planning wherein he developed working relationships with key representatives of hospitality and civic conference venues across the country to accommodate the regular production of meeting events that often entailed thousands of participants. Examples of the organizations who employed him in this role over the years include the Society of American Florists, the National Institute of Rug Cleaners, the American Society of Association Executives, Distributive Education Clubs of America and the National Wildlife Federation.
Dale somehow found the time to participate in and contribute to community and civic programs near and dear to his heart. Over the years he helped to organize and coach various youth athletic teams including baseball, basketball and football. He served as an organizer and leader for various youth groups. He was an active participant in church softball leagues over time and invested many years both as a competitor and in the operation of Northern Virginia Senior Softball. Nothing better illustrates Dale’s competitive nature than the simple pleasure he derived from his fruitful forays into the Senior Olympics. Dale served on the vestry of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna and was very active in the building expansion program with the Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring. He sang in the choirs at Holy Cross and St James’ (Leesburg). He and Jackie particularly enjoyed singing in the Wakefield Chorale together. Dale also maintained an interest in national and local politics and in his earlier years could often be found distributing sample ballots outside the local polling place.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about Dale and Jackie is that they believed in active parenting. For them this entailed a deliberate (and at times precarious) path wherein they took a genuine interest in the lives of their children and their various endeavors but tried to balance that with the realization that each child also had to learn to walk on her/his own two feet. The results were hopefully a group of self-actualized citizens of the world who never doubted how deeply they were loved and cherished and were motivated to pay it forward. Such a gift!
Dale was predeceased by his wife, Jackie, and their eldest child, Alynne. He is survived by the children, Scott and wife, Sandy, Dana, and Rory; his grandchildren, Jennifer and husband, Andy, Chris, Joe and wife, Wendy, Justin, Scott; and his great grandchildren, Lily and Eli. Members of Jackie and Dale’s extended family include Linh and husband, John, and their children, Nathan, Ashley, and Landen; and Dieter and wife, Judy, and their children, Jakob, Ella, and Johan. Dale will be forever missed but held tightly in the hearts and memory of his family members.
The memorial service will take place at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring, VA on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer’s Association would be greatly appreciated and a wonderful tribute to Dale.