Arben Orson Clark
04/24/1921 - 09/14/2019
An exceptionally good man peacefully joined his wife, parents, brothers, daughter, infant twin sons, and many more loved ones in paradise on Saturday, September 14, 2019. It was six years and a day from when his beloved wife of 69 years preceded him.
Arben was the first of four sons born to May Rasmussen and Orson Clark in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a youth at Granite High School, he excelled in academics. But he was also school tennis champion and student body president. His third job after graduation was with the Western Electric Company who sent him to install a new automatic ringing system in Roswell, New Mexico. During his first Sunday at church he met and immediately fell in love with Florence Gerhart. Two and a half months later they were engaged and two months after that, he returned to Salt Lake to prepare for a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of the threat of war, his original call to the Hawaiian Islands was changed to the North Central States. He and Florence were married on December 20, 1943, four days after his return. Three months later in March 1944, he again had to leave Florence for the Army Air Corps until his release near the end of the war in November 1945.
Arben and two of his brothers, Dale and Eldon, built their own houses on a beautiful 8-acre piece of land in Murray they named Valmont. There they began raising the cousins that became playmates and best friends. Arben applied for a bookkeeping job advertised by the Church Welfare Department. During the next two years he worked and went to school full time, until the Church offered him the position of supervisor of all the Church Storehouses. Later, in 1956, he was asked to replace Elder Marion G. Romney (who was already an Apostle) as Coordinator of church welfare operations. In this capacity he worked and traveled with all the general authorities of the Church – giving the welfare talk at stake conferences throughout the West and Canada. His almost constant absence put a lot of pressure on the family, especially Florence, and in those days, the Church paid their employees very little. Arben longed for more education and a better financial situation for his family. So in one year he finished his last two years of undergraduate work through night and correspondence classes. He completed an MBA degree (second highest in his class) from the University of Utah in one year, then took his family to Indiana University where he completed his Doctor of Business Administration degree in two and a half years. Upon graduation, he was immediately hired by the University of Utah Department of Management where he spent the rest of his very rewarding professional life. He also faithfully fulfilled many Church callings and particularly enjoyed counseling young people. His family is especially grateful to him for the year they all spent in Germany and traveling through Europe together when he taught graduate courses for the Air Force through the University of Maryland. His children and grandchildren also thank him for starting the family tradition of summer houseboat outings on Lake Powell – continuing the tradition of turning cousins into best friends. His final act of devotion to his darling wife was to meticulously care for her during her last years as her heart was failing.
Though he had to be frugal most of his life, he was wonderfully generous, sharing or loaning his accumulated wealth to his posterity and others in need. His love, sense of humor, wise counsel, and presence will be missed.
Arben is survived by his children Thaylene (Wayne) Barrett, Joel (Shirley) Clark, Paul (Kristy) Clark, Nathan (Ann) Clark, and Timothy (Caryn) Clark; 31 grandchildren, 92 great-grandchildren, and sisters-in-law, Dawn Clark and Janice Clark. Both his wife and daughter, Shela (Michael) Reall passed on before him in 2013.
The family would like to thank our nurse, Karen Hansen, and CNA, Ryann Gardner, from Utah Home Health and Hospice for their 21 months of expert and tender care of our father (and us).
The family would love to invite those who knew Arben to share your memories of him at the Larkin Mortuary – Riverton, 3688 W. 12600 S., Friday, September 20, from 6-8 pm and on Saturday, September 21, at the church on 351 Lofty Lane, North Salt Lake, from 9:30 – 10:30 am before the funeral service at 11:00 am. Interment will be at the Elysian Gardens, 1075 E. 4580 S. in Murray.