Clark Richard Lease, 95, of Greenville, Ohio, passed away on August 26, 2019 at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville.
He was born on October 29, 1923, in Richland Township in Darke County, Ohio, to the late Earl Christopher and Florence (Clark) Lease.
As a 1941 graduate of Greenville High School and class president, Clark helped plan reunions for many years. During high school, he ran both cross country and track and placed 3rd in the Ohio High School State Cross Country Meet.
Clark studied forestry and ran cross country and track at Miami University before being drafted into the army during WWII in 1943. He served with the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division of the 5th Army in the Italian campaign. Clark was a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Infantry Unit Commander prior to his discharge in November 1945. Clark received a Bronze Star for heroism on the front line of battle.
After the war, Clark returned to Miami University for a short time and then started working for the U. S. Postal Service in September 1949. He was a letter carrier in Greenville for 34 years, retiring in 1983.
Clark was a member of the Wakefield Lutheran Church, then St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Greenville American Legion, DAV, and the VFW. For almost four decades, he gave his heart and soul to Darke County veterans at countless funerals as a member of the Greenville Veteran's Honor Guard.
Clark was a man of many hobbies never wasting a second of his time. He enjoyed restoring antique automobiles and driving them in local parades, regional tours, and the national Glidden Tours, sponsored by the Antique Automobile Club. He and his 1909 Brush automobile were "extras" in the movie, The Great Race. He enjoyed nature. Many hours were spent hiking, foraging for mushrooms, nuts, wild berries, and gardening. Indoor activities included restoring furniture, caning chairs, making wine, and endless hours tinkering in the garage and basement. Clark had great cooking skills, especially hand cranked ice cream, caramel corn, fried oysters, morel mushrooms and peanut brittle. He also enjoyed marksmanship and was a member of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, and the Fort Green Ville Muzzle Loaders Club.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Opal (Stager) Lease on May 7, 2014. They were married December 28, 1949 and enjoyed 64 wonderful years together. Their life was focused on rearing two daughters, attending church, and participating in family gatherings. Retirement was spent together square dancing, playing cards, and doting on their three grandchildren. Clark also was preceded in death by his sisters and brothers-in-law: Phyllis and John Miller, Jean and Byron Klepinger: sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Margaret and Hollie Stager, Louise and Dr. V. Ray Boli: and nephew, David C. Lease.
Clark is survived by his daughters, Deborah Lease of Oxford, Ohio, and Barbara (Jeffrey) Darkow of Avon Lake, Ohio; his grandchildren, Sarah (Mitchell) Otts, Daniel Darkow, and James Darkow; his brother, Donald (Joan) Lease, and sister, Martha (Larry) Boyd; and many nieces and nephews. On this past Father's Day, he joyfully learned that he would become a great-grandfather in December.
A celebration of Clark's life will be held at 1:30 PM on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at Tribute Funeral Home in Greenville. Burial with full military honors conducted by the Greenville Honor Guard will follow in Greenville Union Cemetery.
Guests may visit with Clark's family on Saturday from 12:00 PM until 1:30 PM at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to NMD United (nmdunited.org), a non-profit organization supporting adults living with neuromuscular disabilities, in honor of his grandson, Daniel Darkow.
Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.tributefuneralhomes.com.