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Gerald Willis Clark

December 20, 1928 July 7, 2020
Gerald Willis Clark
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Obituary for Gerald Willis Clark

Gerald Willis Clark passed away at his home of 65 years on July 7, 2020 at the age of 91. Willis was born in Lewistown, MT on December 20, 1928, the only child of Bill and Lena Clark. He attended a one-room schoolhouse called the Last Chance School where he “learned to dance and play cards” before going on to Windham Public School and then graduated from Stanford High School. He followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Coyne Electrical School in Chicago. Upon returning home, he married Joyce Marie Strouf on June 4, 1950. They were married 66 years, until Joyce passed in 2016.  

Willis and Joyce built their home outside Windham using the Last Chance School as the frame for the main part of the house. They raised daughters Melanie and Starlyn while farming and ranching and served as 4H leaders. Willis established Clark Electric in 1950 and ran the business for over 50 years. He worked as a master electrician and plumber and was licensed in refrigeration repair. Known as a local “fix-it” man, Willis was the go-to guy to if your furnace quit and he responded to many calls in the middle of the night. He was also an accomplished wood worker, who made the finest bird feeders in all the land. Never officially retiring, he still tinkered under the house or in his gold shed until just weeks before he passed.  

Willis and Joyce were known as great dancers in the days of town hall dances. They won Best Waltzing Couple at Stanford’s Montana Centennial Jubilee in 1964. Willis loved a good polka and “Waltz Across Texas” was his favorite slower tune. He played the trumpet and accordion both by ear.  

“Poppa”, as he was known to his family, was often found snacking on cookies at midnight and he loved a good “snoozie bar” (ice cream). Not a fan of tough meat, he was not shy to let the cook know that dinner was “tougher than boiled owl”.   He enjoyed taking the grandkids camping and travelled with Joyce around the United States in an RV in their later years. If the weather was cloudy before a drive, he would say “bring your sunglasses, the sun’s shining somewhere.” 

Willis is survived by daughters Melanie Myllymaki of Stanford, Starlyn (Steve) Abrams of Oregon, granddaughters Echo (Craig) Schertz of South Carolina, Summer Myllymaki of Stanford, grandsons Alan (Tracy) Abrams of China, Scott (Kerry) Abrams of Bozeman, great granddaughters Twilight and Journey Schertz and great grandson Jayden Abrams.  

There will be a private family memorial service July 29th. Donations can be given to Central Montana Medical Center Hospice Services.

Arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Willis’ friends are encouraged to visit and share stories and notes of condolence at www.creelfuneralhome.com

To plant a tree in memory of Gerald Willis Clark, visit the Tribute Store.

Events

Event Information

Private Graveside Service due to Covid-19 restrictions

Cemetery Details

Location

Stanford Cemetery Final Resting Place

Hwy 80
Stanford, MT 59479

Hwy 80 Stanford 59479 MT
United States

Memorial Contribution

Central Montana Medical Center Home Health/Hospice

408 Wendell Ave.
Lewistown, MT 59457
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