Gerald ‘Jerry’ Clark, M.D., 86, Fairhope, Ala.July 13, 2020
Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Clark, M.D., Fairhope, Alabama, formerly from Madisonville, Kentucky, died peacefully at his home on July 12, 2020, after celebrating his 86th birthday a few days earlier.
Born on July 7, 1934 in Linton, Indiana, Jerry went to Jasper High School and was offered baseball and basketball scholarships to attend college, choosing Indiana University, where he started as pitcher throughout his college career. At college in Bloomington, he met his wife, the former Miriam Breneman, and they were married in 1957. His college teammates called him “Junkman Jerry,” for the many types of pitches he could throw. They also called him “Beans,” because he ordered them every time he had dinner. The Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals were interested in him as a pitcher, but he entered the draft in the Air Force, which he served for 3 years at Selfridge Air Force Base in Harrison Township, Michigan, retiring as Captain. He often attended Detroit Tigers baseball games, his favorite team, and wore his Airforce Uniform to get in free.
After the Air Force, he returned to Indiana University and worked his way through medical school. He first achieved a Masters in Optometry and then returned to medical school, where he earned a Medical Degree in Ophthalmology and graduated with Honors at the top of his class. Jerry was a Board-Certified Member of the American Board of Ophthalmology and a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, an Honor Medical Society. Jerry always worked at least 2 jobs while attending medical school to support his family and often volunteered his services as field doctor at the Indianapolis 500 Speedway.
After his residency at Medical Center in Indianapolis, Jerry and his wife Miriam moved their family to Madisonville, KY in 1969. Jerry practiced Ophthalmology for 40 years at Trover Clinic and the Regional Medical Center. He was always very grateful to Dr. John Pate and Dr. Loman Trover for his first chance to serve, as well as the dedicated physicians he practiced with. Jerry was instrumental in starting same day surgery at the Regional Medical Center and eventually became Chief of Staff. He was an innovator in cataract, corneal transplant, and laser surgeries.
Family was always first, and patients were also family! Jerry was very dedicated to his patients and truly loved them all, often traveling to adjoining towns to patients’ homes to care for them and caring for the less fortunate who did not have the means to travel. He was very kind and caring, especially with elderly patients, often saying, “some day I will be old, and I hope people will treat me well.”
He was a tremendous golfer and fisherman and loved vacations with his family, often centered around golf with his kids. Jerry was an active member of the Madisonville United Methodist Church and a man of strong Christian faith which provided guidance and comfort throughout his life. He loved his Madisonville Community, (“the best town on earth”) but relocated to Fairhope, Alabama to be closer to family because of declining health. Jerry was a simple and humble person, always wanting the best for his family, friends, and patients.
Jerry is survived by his wife Miriam of 63 years, daughters Dr. Kathy Clark (Marcus), Beverly Clark, sons David Clark (Melinda), Michael Clark. Grandchildren, Bryan Stewart (Laura), Melissa Beavers (Zachary), Dr. Kyle Hawkins (Dr. Rose), Savannah Clark, Katie Clark, Tiffany Griffin, Olivia Goodwin (Chris) and Mady Neal. Great Grandchildren include Cooper, Caleb, Jaycee, Ember and Magnolia. He is also survived by his sister, Sue Conner of Peru, Indiana, and brother-in-law Dr. Bill Breneman (Jamie Sue) of Carmel, California, in addition to many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank Dr. John McDuff and Tamara Dowdy for their extraordinary care.
A private Family Funeral will be held on July 15th at Wolfe-Bayview Funeral Home in Fairhope, Alabama.
Donations in memory can be made to the Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center, Baptist Health, 900 Hospital Drive, Madisonville, KY 42431.
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