July 23, 1944 – February 20, 2019
Russell E. Clark, 74, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away peacefully at Hospice of the Valley on February 20, 2019. Russell was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 23, 1944. He grew up in Milford, Connecticut where he loved to explore Gulf Pond on his small fishing boat. He loved to watch big storms roll in from the Atlantic. His younger siblings, Paul and Susan, were excellent playmates and they all grew up in a happy home with their mom Barbara, dad Raymond, and maternal aunt Lois.
Russell attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. There he studied political science and regularly attended folk music sing-alongs at the Campus Christian Center. He took a break from college to serve with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), the predecessor to AmeriCorps. As a VISTA volunteer he built community infrastructure projects for the inhabitants of Wales, Alaska, then in the White Mountain Apache reservation in Arizona.
After returning to Tucson to finish college Russell married his first wife, Yvonne R. Clark. They moved to Flagstaff where Russell worked for Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG). He loved hiking and developed a lifelong interest in solar power and energy policy.
Russell and Yvonne later moved to Phoenix and had a son, Eric, and daughter, Grace. Russell worked for the Arizona Department of Housing, and later the Arizona Department of Commerce, for 30 years as the Arizona Director of the Low-Income Weatherization Program. During that time he consistently advocated for funding, equipment, and training for Arizona’s various Community Action Agencies. He received multiple awards for outstanding public service, including the first annual “Champions Against Poverty Award” in 2003.
After separating from Yvonne, Russell was a caring and supportive single father. He chaperoned Eric’s Boy Scout trips and taught his kids to rock climb at Phoenix Rock Gym. He instilled a love of science discovery and STAR TREK in both children. Russell loved movies and Grace credits their visits to Harkins Camelview 5 as inspiration for her media producing career.
Russell married Ruth Clark in 2001 at First United Methodist Church of Phoenix where he was active in Cafe & OJ Sunday school class, the weekly Mens’ Discussion Group, the Great Decisions Group, and Friends Who Deliver (delivering communion to homebound church members). Russell was the volunteer coordinator for a 12-church Methodist coalition supporting Habitat for Humanity, and a generous supporter of United Methodist Outreach Mission (UMOM).
Russell loved clouds and rain, especially walking in the rain wearing his rain suit. He gave rain gauges to his family and friends, and often compared rainfall amounts with them. He was a member of the International Cloud Appreciation Society, the American Meteorological Society, and the Solar Energy Association (president for several years).
Russell is survived by his wife Ruth; son Eric; daughter Grace; sister Susan; aunt Lois; step-sons Brian and Michael; and step-grandsons Kyle and Tyler.
A Memorial Service/Celebration of Russell’s Life is scheduled at 2:00 PM Saturday, March 30, 2019 at First United Methodist Church of Phoenix, 5510 N. Central Ave., Phoenix 85012. In lieu of flowers, Russell’s family encourages donations to his favorite charities (UMOM at https://umom.org/; Habitat for Humanity at https://www.habitat.org/; First UMC Phoenix), or another charity of the donor’s choosing.Print Obituary & Condolences