William D. Clark, Class of 1943


William "Bill" Dockery Clark Bill made his final flight on June 24, 2011.

A highly regarded professional pilot, his destination on this flight was Heaven, and we know his landing was a smooth one. Bill was born in Del Rio, Texas on December 17, 1925, the anniversary of the Wright Brothers' historic flight. His parents, Monte and Genevieve Clark, recognized his interest in airplanes and flying when he was a little boy. He often said that he was born too early, because his age kept him from being in the space program. However, now he has seen the wonders of the universe.

After graduating from Del Rio High School, Bill served his country during the last of WWII as a flight engineer aboard Martin B-26s and Boeing B-29s. He gained valuable experience which served him well in his flying career. His sister was a student at the University of Texas when she asked him to come to Austin to meet her roommate, Dottie. At the time, he didn't know that he was going to meet his future wife, and they would have nearly fifty-eight wonderful years of marriage. Their two sons, Jim and Joe, added much happiness to his life. His favorite times were hunting and fishing with his boys at the family ranch in West Texas. Bill was admired by his peers for his flying skills and his concern for safety. He never hesitated to cancel a flight if the weather was dangerous. He liked the saying, "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots - but there are very few old bold pilots". He was chief pilot for two Texas Governors, and flew dignitaries, executives, and a past U. S. president. When Bill retired from flying, he became a consultant for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. He had always held an interest in the law, personal freedoms and individual rights. After retiring from the Commission, he found himself busier than ever managing the family's land interests and investments. The ranch was his favorite place on earth. He was dedicated to protecting it and making decisions that were in the best interests of the family. A family service honoring Bill's memory will be held at the ranch that he so dearly loved. Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter-in-law, Judy Clark. He will be forever remembered by his wife Dottie; his son Jim, of Kingwood, Texas; his son Joe, of Austin, Texas; his grandsons Jonathan and Daniel, of Kingwood, Texas; and his sister Gerry Palmer, of San Angelo, Texas. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association or a charity of your choice.