In Memory of John Wilburn Clark, Jr.

By Wendy Clark

Historical archeologist John Wilburn Clark, Jr. passed away on Sunday, May 24th. He was seventy-six years old.

A lifelong Austin, Texas resident, John initially went to the University of Texas at Austin to refine his artistic skills. However, after venturing on a field trip with an anthropology professor, he soon developed a lifelong passion for anthropology and archeology and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology. He later attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas and became a Registered Professional Archeologist. His knowledge base was expansive, enabling him to identify historical architectural styles, ceramics, and other artefacts. Though his interest in archeology was broad and spanned continents, he further specialized in Texas historical archeology and contributed extensively to current understanding of Spanish Colonial and Texas history. His work has been used to preserve and protect numerous historical sites.

Among his publications and contributions were: Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo: Archaeological Investigations, December 1974, 1978; La Reina Norteña: History and Archaeology of San Jose Mission, 1980; “Historical Antecedents Beyond the Texas Border” in A Texas Legacy, the Old San Antonio Road and the Caminos Reales, 1998; and many others. He was a contributor to such journals as the Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society, and regularly wrote extensive reports for the Texas Department of Transportation.

John’s passion for history and archaeology took him to many places, including Mexico, where he met his wife of forty-two years. A dedicated husband and father, John supported his wife and children throughout his life. He was also a doting grandfather who delighted in and encouraged his granddaughter’s artistic skills.

John is survived by his wife, Gloria Clark; three children, Wendy Clark, Ellen Dass, and Ashley Balcom; one grandchild, Aislyn; and a sister, Linda Clark.

Donations in memory of John W. Clark, Jr. can be made to the Texas Archeological Research Lab (TARL), at the University of Texas at Austin. Online donations can be made using the link**&source=LWE. Be sure to select TARL from the drop-down menu. Use the blank to enter John’s name and use the “special information” to indicate Friends’ Group. Mail-in donations can be sent to TARL, 1 University Station, R7500, Austin, Texas 78712 and indicate on your check in memory of John W. Clark, Jr.

4 thoughts on “In Memory of John Wilburn Clark, Jr.”

  1. John was a long-time friend. We share many interests in common, not the least of which was the historical archaeology of the Borderlands. I will miss him a great deal, especially at our bi-monthly Amigos de la Frontera breakfasts.

  2. John and I met as undergraduates at UT Austin. We worked together on numerous projects over several decades, including Proctor Reservoir, Lake Texoma, Bayou Loco Reservoir, Mission San José and others. Always a pleasant and cheerful co-worker, John brought his extensive knowledge and abilities together for the benefit of Texas archeology. He will be missed.

  3. John was my friend. We worked together on numerous projects including the City of Austin New City Hall Project where he was lead historical archaeologist and artifact analyst for 5 City blocks in Austin. John had a strong Celtic background and was an enthusiast for the highland games and his Clan. I would always ask him when I saw him, John how the hell are you? He would always answer with a laugh and say “still breathing”. He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. His expertise in historic archaeology is unsurpassed in my experience. He taught me a lot about historic-age artifacts, always with patience and a smile on his face. He loved archaeology. We will miss you John W. Clark.

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