Arthur Watts Clark, Obituary


Arthur Watts Clark Sr. passed away on June 22nd at the DuBose Health Center in Chapel Hill, NC, at the age of 100.

Born in Seattle on November 28th 1922 to Irving and Nell Watts Clark, Arthur and his older brother Irving Jr were grammar-schooled in France and Switzerland. The family returned to Washington State and the boys graduated from Lakeside High School, each as Valedictorian of his respective class (Irving 1937, Arthur 1939).

Love of geology drew Arthur to UNC, where he met the love of his life, Mary Cannon. Married on November 21, 1942, having received his degree, Arthur enlisted at age 19. It was wartime. He trained and served as an Intelligence Staff Officer, focused mainly on aerial photo-reconnaissance missions in China and Southeast Asia.

After the war, and then earning a Master’s in Geology at Berkeley, Arthur joined Home Security Life Insurance Company in Durham, NC. With personal attributes of high intellect, self-discipline, and integrity, Arthur advanced through the Company ranks to become President, Chairman and CEO.
Meanwhile, the “War to End All Wars” didn’t, and, Arthur (a perpetual member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves) was recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict. Later, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he led a “Recovery Squadron” at the Raleigh-Durham Airport.

Over the years, Arthur achieved remarkable success in military, corporate, and civic life. As a military officer, he received some of our nation’s highest honors including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star. He retired as a Major General in the Air Force. After retirement from business, he published, Eyes Of The Tiger, sharing his experiences and photos from WWII. Elsewhere, Arthur served as Board Chairman of the North Carolina Zoo Society, and as a member or chair of too many boards and councils to list.

Having many interests, he was a pilot (flight instructor), master marksman (made his own bullets), avid tennis player, woodworker, rower, and photographer. He served as a ranger in the Olympic Mountains. A member of the prestigious Explorers Club, Arthur’s personal and professional adventures took him to all seven continents and both poles. He always came home with great stories and fabulous photos. In later life, many trips included accompaniment by members of his family who have all inherited his love for travel.

Arthur is missed, loved, and survived by three descendant generations: The sons include Arthur Jr., and Claiborne (with his wife Jessie), and John (with his wife Joyce). The grandchildren include Megan, Christina, Julie, William, and Heather Daurity (with her husband Jason). The three great grandchildren are Andrew and Ben (Heather), and Margaux (Megan). He loved animals and is also survived by his Bichon Frisé “Snowball” who, aged 21, is far older than Arthur in “dog years.”

Predeceased by his parents of course, Arthur also mourned brother Irving Jr. in 1978, and then his dear wife Mary in 2018. In a century of living, Arthur also lost many other family members, and countless friends and colleagues.

Now, he himself will be greatly missed by the remaining family and the friends he valued so highly. Many caregivers have said they share the grief. There are too many workers, drivers, cooks, housekeepers, administrators, doctors, nurses, CNAs and other caregivers to thank without forgetting to mention too many more. The excellent care Arthur received at the end of his life demonstrated the love and passion of countless people and a number of institutions. Some should qualify as angels. The family thanks each and every one.

Arthur’s Service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Durham on Saturday July 22nd (11 a.m.) with a brief reception to follow. The Service will be streamed “live” on the Church’s website: (Click on “WORSHIP”), and then archived on YouTube.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made “In memory of Arthur Watts Clark” to:
* The North Carolina Zoo Society:
* The UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center:
* Or to a charity of your choosing.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral and Cremation Services in Durham. More information will be posted at, and online condolences may be sent to,

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