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In Loving, Musical Memory

W. Ross Clark II went to join God's choir of Heavenly Angels on the evening of Saturday, December 19, 2009. (Actually, we're pretty sure he's leading the choir by now). Ross was born on March 17, 1974 and spent his 35 years making beautiful music and bringing joy to those around him. He also fought a nearly life-long battle with Type 1 diabetes with a strength and grace that serves as an inspiration to all who knew him.

Ross finally decided it was time to move on to a bigger and better life in the spirit. He leaves behind a loving circle of family and friends and a legacy of music that will live on forever. Those who wish to honor Ross' memory can do so by enjoying his music and making music in their own lives. His musical legacy also lives on through Ross's Gift: The W. Ross Clark II Award for Outstanding Musicianship, an annual scholarship awarded to a senior graduating from Oneida High School, Ross's alma mater. Anyone wishing to contribute is encouraged to email joannasero@gmail.com for information.

Ross wanted so much for his family and friends to stay in the fight for the cure and had great hopes for a variety of research initiatives, including stem cell research. He prayed that he would somehow be part of making sure that no other child, no other teenager, no other young adult would experience the "postponed promises/delayed dreams" brought on by the complications of diabetes. If you would like to join in the fight for a cure, please consider making a donation in his name to the American Diabetes Association.

Ross was given the incredible gift of 8 additional years to make music through the miracle of organ donation. Please consider helping to give the gift of life by becoming an organ donor. To find out how to become a donor in your state, visit www.donatelife.net.

Forever at Home in Our Hearts...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

From Brian Best

Time has faded my memories of OHS and everyone in it, but what I remember of you is simply this: you may have been the coolest guy at the place.

The picture of you that pops in to my head upon seeing your name is not one of dialysis machines and suffering but this: We were at one of those Vocal Jazz road trips - staying in some sort of cabins with other high schoolers. It was pretty dull; the biggest entertainment was a ping-pong table. I remember you there wearing a warm sweater that would look appropriate in a high-end Colorado ski lodge. You had the long straight blond hair framing a facial structure that some might have called "baby face" but that description undersold it. It was definitely more rock star than high school kid. Not only could you sing, but you had an acoustic guitar that you played almost effortlessly (at least it seemed that way to me the casual observer). To put this guy in a warm lodge on a cold day is one thing, but then surround him with the absolute prettiest girls from both our school and the other schools in attendance. They weren't just hanging around to sing, no, they were *in* to you and what made it even cooler was that you were singing and enjoying yourself as though it didn't matter if a single one of them was there or not. But probably the best part of all was - and this is true for the most legendary of cool people - that you never seemed to let it go to your head. Even though we were never tight enough to hang out outside of any of the school activities (and that's on me - I was a mess back then) you were always the nicest guy in the room; I can't recall you ever saying a bad word to or about anyone. Instead there was always a smile or a joke or a song.

Sometimes I hear the phrase "Women want to be with him, men want to BE him." Yeah, that's the Ross Clark that I remember.

I don't know the appropriate things to say to someone struggling with what you're facing right now so I'll just close with this: I'm sorry that recent years have not been kind to you. For my own selfishness, I wish that time and circumstance had afforded me the opportunity to know you better both then and in recent years. But more so I hope now for much love and comfort to you and your family.

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