Clark Yospe, a man of many talents, abilities and gifts, gave his family the best gift of all: one final week of stories, laughs, memories and farewells. Clark courageously clutched his last moments with his children and grandchildren, giving each one advice, stories and blessings that shall never be forgotten. His love and influence for good will be felt for generations to come.
Clark was born on October 26, 1949 in Tooele, Utah. The family soon moved to the Glendale neighborhood of Salt Lake City. When Clark would reminisce about his childhood, he’d paint a picture that made it seem as if had grown up in Mayberry, not Glendale. He’d often brag about being the original “Sandlot” kid, playing in the field in which the movie The Sandlot would be filmed years later. He and his Glendale friends were infamous for clowning around, shooting BB guns (many times at each other!), riding bikes and playing baseball.
His father Max, a police officer, and his mother Elaine, a loving homemaker, raised Clark and his sisters wrapped in a cloak of love. His parents were pillars of support and guidance that were a foundation for the man he would become. Max Yospe was the first known Jewish convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be ordained a Bishop. His mother, Elaine, taught him Christ-like love and service for others from an early age. Together, they raised Clark and his sisters, SueAnn and Lorraine, to be generous, devoted servants and ministers of Jesus Christ.
Clark was a beloved brother to his two sisters. He always stood up for them, watched over them, helping them in any way he could.
Throughout his life, Clark had a sharp sense of humor and a passion for telling jokes. This gift enamored him to everyone he came into contact with. Often, his jokes would drag into oblivion, losing his audience in the process. Sometimes his jokes became more about their absurd length than about any sort of punchline. Regardless, in the end, he was always able to get you giggling. Because of his polished sense of humor and his natural charisma, he became a beloved Sacrament Meeting speaker in every ward he was in.
Clark attended South High in Salt Lake City. He was charismatic, funny and respected amongst his peers. Clark loved his time in high school and looked forward to reunions with his classmates. He even helped establish a South High scholarship fund for the grandchildren of South High Cubs to attend Salt Lake Community College. He served on the scholarship board until the day he died.
At age 19, Clark decided to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hoping to be called to Germany (later, his grandson was called to serve in Germany, which Clark found to be beautifully ironic), he opened his mission call to find he had been assigned to the Central California Mission. He was disappointed at first, but eventually he fell in love with the mission and especially its people. He taught and baptized many people while in California. His favorite area was certainly Visalia. He is beloved and remembered by many families in California still to this day. The echoes of his positive impact in the lives of those he touched will reverberate for decades to come.
When Clark returned home from his mission, he attended the University of Utah to study marketing and advertising. He had an innovative and creative mind, perfect for the advertising world. He cherished his time at the U, where he found both his love for his future vocation and more importantly the love of his life: Emma Martin.
Emma had also been a South High cub, but she and Clark didn’t connect until they were reintroduced at the University of Utah. Clark jokingly showed up to their first date with a large, fake, gaudy wedding ring. Serendipitously, Emma thought it would be hilarious if she answered the door wearing one of her older sister’s wedding dresses. From then on, it was a true love story as they quickly became inseparable. The two of them had much in common, including a fierce sense of humor and a love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For the next 52 years, Clark and Emma went through life hand in hand, unwavering in their love for each other and the family that they created. Their relationship was the greatest joy of Clark’s life. The two of them brought the best out of each other and the elation they shared was contagious. If you ever had the pleasure of spending time with Clark and Emma, you know they were the very definition of a “power couple.” They played off each others’ positivity and hilarity with perfection. No one ever left their presence without a smile on their face. Their 50-year marriage was an inspiration to us all.
Upon graduating, Clark got a job in advertising at Gibson’s department store. His artistic talent was instantly put to the test as he created advertisements for the local news papers. His marketing genius did not go unnoticed and he soon found himself with a job offer from Stokes Brothers electronics. At Stokes Brothers, he finely tuned his craft. He became a Utah advertising sensation and helped the company grow to its peak. Not long after, he accepted an offer to be the head of advertising at Utah-based furniture company RC Willey.
After Clark joined RC Willey, they became famous for: free hotdogs and drinks on Saturdays! Free hot dogs and drinks were Clark’s brainchild. This genius move, along with many other original and inspired marketing tactics, helped RC Willey to become one of the largest furniture companies in the western United States. Clark played no small part in the rapid expansion of the company and its domination in the market.
Clark was a master of advertising, but it was the relationships he made with his employees, sales reps and colleagues that he will be remembered for most. Clark’s big personality, witty humor and genuine altruism made him beloved by everyone he came in touch with. Clark’s influence and passion in advertising reached his family as three of his sons also launched successful and respected marketing careers in Utah. They owe much of their success to their father’s example.
Clark and Emma have six children: Abram, Esther, Isaac, Jacob, Jordan and Mary Ann. Undoubtedly, Mary Ann (who died nine days after childbirth) has been excitedly waiting to be with her father, and we know it is a joyous reunion. Clark valued his time with his family more than anything. Every year they visited Disneyland or Disneyworld and every summer he would take them to their family cabin in Island Park, Idaho. He absolutely treasured going to Island Park and visiting Yellowstone.
Ever the adventurous traveler, Clark and Emma visited 32 countries together. Their shared passion was exploring new parts of the world and soaking in the culture. He particularly loved Switzerland, Ireland and Israel. Curious about his Jewish roots, visiting Israel made Clark feel connected to his father’s heritage and ancestry.
It’s nearly impossible to think about Clark without also thinking about his father. The two of them looked and sounded the same. They shared the same values and love for family. They also shared a gift for painting. After retiring, Clark relaxed by cultivating this talent. He painted many beautiful pictures and often gave them to others. He had a knack for finding the humanity in his subjects and capturing that humanity in his portraits. He also found joy in painting stunning country fields. His artwork will be passed on and will be treasured by his many generations to come.
An avid Ute fan, Clark loved attending Utah football games with his children. He’d often take them along to out-of-state games, where they would wear red and take the brunt of teasing from opposing fans. It wasn’t important if the Utes won or lost, what mattered was the boys got 100% of their father’s attention. Clark was a true Ute fan to the end. “I will be til’ I die! Ki-yi!” was his motto. He even requested the Utah fight song be played at his funeral.
Clark was a man of many interests and hobbies. He enjoyed fly tying and fishing, listening to Simon and Garfunkel, cooking, gardening and playing golf. He felt most fulfilled when he visited the cabin his parents built in Island Park. He loved the tranquility and the glorious connection he felt with the forest. Most of all, he loved spending time at this divine place with his wife, children and grandchildren.
Grandpa Clark celebrated each of his 16 grandchildren and their accomplishments. He made each grandkid feel as though they were his favorite. He attended their many games, plays, and award ceremonies as often as occasion would permit. He glowed with pride as he watched them grow and learn. His connection to each grandchild was special. They love him dearly and will never forget his influence on their lives. Clark’s incredible family posterity is a testament to the example he was and the lessons he taught each of us.
Perhaps most importantly, Clark had a valiant and undeniable testimony of Jesus Christ. He served as a Bishop of the Edgehill 2nd Ward in Sugarhouse, Utah, for six years. During that time, he blessed many lives as he watched over and cared for many widows in the ward. He set an example of Christ-like love to his family by putting the needs of others before himself and serving the Lord with all his might. After serving as Bishop, he had many more church callings and he never shirked his duty. He served each calling faithfully and with an eye towards God. He was a noble and honest leader.
Our family has so many fond memories of our time with dad. We’d go fishing on Henry’s Fork river in Island Park, where dad would tie a small blow-up raft around his waist and take us kids out one at a time to fish with him. We’d spend hours in the raft, reeling in the fish he’d catch or just being bored when the fish weren’t biting. We were quite the sight to the other fishermen on the river, but dad was never embarrassed. He’d proudly let us pull in fish after fish while the other fishermen were left open-mouthed and flabbergasted at his skill.
Before he fell ill, Clark cared for Emma with great compassion, patience and tenderness after she suffered a serious fall. He nursed her back to health, rarely leaving her side. Emma was able to reciprocate this love as she served Clark diligently these past few months. Their example of love and service for each other is one we will cherish forever and try to emulate.
Clark was one-of-a-kind, and he will not be forgotten. His zest for life, his intelligence, his soft and easy nature -- he was a lot of things to a lot of people. Clark died on Friday, August 18, 2023, of liver failure. At his passing, he was surrounded by his children, their spouses and most importantly his beloved wife Emma. We take great courage and hope in the fact that he is welcomed into the arms of his heavenly and earthly parents and his Savior, Jesus Christ. We know we will see Clark again!
Clark is survived by cherished wife, Emma, his two sisters: SueAnn Ricks and Lorraine Starkie (Graham). He is also survived by his children: Abram (Cathi) and their three sons: Lincoln, Calder and Portland; Esther and her son Walter; Isaac (Jana) and their children: Luke, Max, Clara, Emmy and Nora; Jacob (Heather) and their three daughters: Cami, Lexi and Faith; and Jordan (Kate) and their children: Mae, Henry, Monson and Felix.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, August 24, 2023, at the LDS Centerville 6th Ward Building, 900 South 400 East, Centerville, Utah. An evening viewing will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at Russon Mortuary, 295 N. Main Street, Bountiful, Utah. A morning viewing will take place from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday at the church prior to services.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin 10-15 minutes before the services and will be posted below.