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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 Drew Simchik

Dear Ross,

I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about high school -- it
wasn't my favorite time of my life (though it beat junior high). It
had its highlights, though, and today when I was thinking about them,
I remembered how many of them included you.

Most days I was mainly just looking forward to choir practice or drama
club rehearsal, and yep, there you were, making everything look easy.
I learned a lot from you, man...fact is, most of us really didn't have
any kind of a feel for jazz except you, but that's your element and we
all paid attention. Not trying to inflate your ego or anything but I
really don't know if those freaking horrible blue cardigans and the
mall concerts would have meant much of anything without you buoying it
all up and keeping the rest of us from looking like total clods.

Somewhere I still have that little tiny photo they took of us at
All-State at that resort hotel, when we were going to sing all that
amazing music and an ice storm knocked out the power and sent us all
home. Good times.

I'm not shocked in the least to see how much music you've been making
since then. Dude, I was listening to it today and I'm still a little
amazed that I know someone with that kind of talent. I mean, I did
some singing in college, and I do it now with our improv comedy group
(and karaoke of course), but you're not messing around. I keep telling
myself that someday I'm gonna pick up the guitar and start writing
songs and I keep not doing it. Someday I will, and it won't be a patch
on what you do, but you'll have inspired it.

I'm not just blowing smoke here...you were a pretty bright light for
me in high school, but I never really thought I could tell you that. I
really hope the past 17 years since graduation, even through the ice
storms, have been full of bright lights for you too.

I love you man.

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