PORTAGE, Mich. - Major Alvin Clark was born October 6, 1927, in Midland, Mich. to the late Herbert and Edith Clark. He was educated in Midland schools and graduated in June 1945.
He was born and raised in the Nazarene Church, but he and some friends visited The Salvation Army to see the women preachers. After the service, the officer said, "See you next week!" and young Alvin told her, "OK." That week, he knew he had to keep his promise and began attending the corps regularly.
He was the first graduate corps cadet and the first cadet to enter training from the Midland, Mich., Corps. He was ordained as a Lieutenant from The Salvation Army Training College in Chicago in 1949. His first appointment was Calumet.
While there, he met Lieutenant Shirley Rowe of Hancock and they married in June 1952. Ironically, Lt. Clark was a member of the Peacemakers Session, while Lt. Rowe was a member of the Warriors Session (1947). Despite their session names, they celebrated 60-plus years of marriage, providing a true example of a Godly marital partnership.
Combined, they held 16 appointments in the Central United States including Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota and Western Michigan. They also served four years in Ohio. They retired from active service in 1992 from the Traverse City, Mich., Corps.
Within his 43 years of service, Major Clark enjoyed ministering to young men through the Boy Scouts of America, Red Shield Boys Club, and other boys programming, especially through the outdoors. He took great care in securing stable financial positions for every corps and managed three building projects.
Majors Clark were delegates to The Salvation Army International Congress in London, England, in 1978 and toured the Holy Land in 1989. Wherever he served, he sought to reach out to those that seemed lonely and in need of a friend. Major Clark was an active member of the communities he served. He was a member of Rotary International and Kiwanis International. His service was so exemplary in Traverse City, Mich., that he was nominated and became a member of the George E. Hixson Fellowship. Even in retirement, he continued to serve and was past President of the Keweenaw Kiwanis Club of Hancock.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Major Shirley Clark; three children: Major David (Bonnie) Clark of Des Plaines, Ill.; Joel (Jane) Clark of Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Rhonda Clark (Terry Wilds) of Kalamazoo, Mich.; nine grandchildren: Jonathan Clark, Becky Clark, Ben (Heather) Clark, Katy (Doug) Engle, Cadet Betsy Clark, Sam Clark, Sarah Wilds, Nick Wilds, James Wilds; three great-grandsons, his sister, Dorothy Seaman, of Midland, Mich.; his brother, Ralph Clark, of Midland, Mich.; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was predeceased by his parents; a brother, Duane Clark; and two infant sisters.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, December 6, at the Kalamazoo Salvation Army Citadel.
In lieu, of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Kalamazoo Salvation Army, 1700 S. Burdick Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001.
Please visit www.langelands.com for online obituary, directions, register books, and condolences.
Arrangements are by Langeland Family Funeral Homes, (269) 343-1508.