John R. Clark of Ramrod Key, Florida, and Ocean Shores, Washington, passed away suddenly of a heart attack on April 5, 2010. He is survived by his wife Catherine (Katie) and five children, who all live on the Pacific coast.
John was born April 11, 1927, in Seattle, Washington. Growing up on Shilshole Bay, he developed a love of the sea. After leaving the Navy in 1945, John enrolled at the University of Washington to study fisheries science and graduated in 1949.
He started his career at Woods Hole and became an accomplished diver in the 1950s. In the 1960s, he was Assistant Director of the Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory in New Jersey, and in the early 1970s, he directed the Narragansett Marine Laboratory in Rhode Island. Then he became a senior associate with the Conservation Foundation in Washington, D.C., where his involvement with coastal zone conservation policy was influential in the Coastal Zone Management and Clean Water programs. In the 1970s he became a snowbird, living in Key West and finally on Ramrod Key in Florida. John “retired” in 1987, becoming a full-time Keys resident, but continuing as an international consultant on coastal zone management.
A recipient of several professional awards, John wrote more than 100 papers and authored/edited many books. The most notable were Coastal Ecosystem Management (1977) and Coastal Zone Management Handbook (1996), which were foundation stones of coastal management.
John was a fisherman all his life. I can vividly remember going out on his boat Phoenix from his bayside house on Ramrod Key. My son Stephen caught a large green eel, which frightened some of the people on board. John calmly clunked the eel on the head to stun it, unhooked it, and released it into the water when it was able to swim again. On this same trip, he grabbed a blue crab and put it live into his mouth, much to my wife's horror and my delight. John was quite a character and unique person who led a full and meaningful life; he is sorely missed.