Missio Celebrates the Life of Founding Faculty Member Rev. George S. Clark

Rev. George S. Clark completed his earthly journey on May 23, 2020 at the age of 84. In a letter to friends, his wife Sherie described George’s final hours:

Our precious family gathered to his bedside… expressing their love and appreciation to him for all he meant to them — recalling special memories and even enjoying George’s ever-present wry sense of humor. It was his desire, at this point, to phone family loved ones unable to be at his side, to encourage their faith and to assure them of his love for them and his love for the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom he now longed to go. George told us all how eagerly he was looking forward to seeing his Savior’s face, to thank Him in person for doing in his behalf what he could not do for himself …

George was a member of Missio Seminary’s (Biblical School of Theology at the time) founding faculty in 1971. At the encouragement of Dr. Jack Murray, George first served as the school’s registrar. He and Sherie had been staying with the Murrays waiting for their visas to come through, allowing them to return to their mission assignment in the Middle East. Dr. Murray said, “George, why don’t you help us get this school off the ground until your visa arrives?” George agreed and accepted the assignment. When asked later about the visas, he would laugh, “I guess we’re still waiting for them!”

George held a variety of roles throughout his twenty-nine years of service, including registrar, associate professor of practical theology, academic dean, vice president, and interim president (1984-1986) following the death of Dr. G. Aiken Taylor.

George and Sherie brought with them a love for Christ, his church, and a winsome witness for the gospel. He remained with the seminary until his retirement in 2000. The Clarks then moved from their Harleysville, PA home to Lutz, FL, becoming members of Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Tampa.

One of his students, Dr. John Muhlfeld (MDiv, ’00), would become his pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harleysville, a congregation that began as a Bible study in the Clark’s home. Remembering George, Pastor Muhlfeld wrote,

“George’s love for the glory of God, the lost, and his students was evident and contagious. His instruction in missions, supported by years of field experience, shaped my thinking in that area of practical theology, as did his patient, constructive, and encouraging approach to teaching and preaching. I was one of many students invited over to the Clark home for a meal at the end of the semester since his teaching was not merely instruction, but loving discipleship.”

Mrs. Kathe Vannoy, the wife of the late Dr. J. Robert Vannoy, reflected on George’s life:

“It was with sadness and joy that I learned of George’s death. Sadness because we lost an earthly friend, but joy because George is now in the presence of our Savior. My late husband, Bob, and George were not only friends, they were brothers in their desire to serve the Lord. They were in college and seminary together and both taught for many years at Biblical. George will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are for the Lord’s grace and comfort to be given to his wife Sherie and family.”

President Emeritus Dr. David Dunbar (MDiv, ’72) remarked,

“George was a good friend; he was one who regularly encouraged me, a man of deep godliness and prayerfulness. He was the one who from the beginning pushed for me to come as president.” When asked about the seminary’s desire to serve the city, Dave said, “George was always interested in the city, on board with that right from the start.”

Former seminary controller Mr. Wayne A. Davidson (MDiv, ’79) reflected on his relationship with him,

“George Clark was truly a man of God whom I came to greatly respect and admire during our time together at Missio – a humble servant leader in every respect. As a student, I had the honor of being taught and counseled by Mr. Clark. Later, as controller and colleague, I had the privilege of working with, and at times, for George.

With Tom Brokaw’s best-selling book in mind, I remain eternally grateful for and indebted to the seminary’s founding fathers and their families for the willing sacrifices they made on behalf of the students they trained through the years. They, indeed, were Missio’s Greatest Generation. And Mr. Clark was in every respect an integral member of that beloved group.”

A graduate from 1978, Dr. Joe Basile (MDiv), came to seminary as a young Christian. He remarked,

“In every serious Christian’s life are those people you realize God put into your life for a profound purpose. Mr. and Mrs. Clark are those people in my life. Mr. Clark was my advisor in seminary. When I first looked at him he reminded me of ‘the Gary Cooper of the Christian life,’ the leading man in the movie High Noon. You could trust him with anything. He was the guy who would do what is right even if no one would stand with him.”

Current board member and a former student of George’s, Joe Longo (MA, ’90), spoke of his appreciation for George, “He just was so genuine. He had such a servant’s heart; you could tell, it just came through. He wanted so much to help in any way he could. I really loved the guy.”

George is remembered as “a gentle, competent, calm man, with whom I enjoyed working,” by Dr. Sherry Kull, a former dean of the seminary. Mr. Jim Pakala (STM, ’77), the seminary’s first professional librarian, shared how much he “respected the missionary work he and Sherie had done in the Middle East and his service to the seminary.”

George and Sherie Clark were an invaluable part of Missio Seminary’s humble beginning in 1971. As the school approaches its 50th anniversary (2021), more than 2,000 graduates stand as a testimony to the faithful, sacrificial, and godly service of Rev. Clark and the other founders of Missio Seminary. We pray for God’s blessing on Sherie and the entire Clark family.

Thomas D. Skinner