In a crowded office, the family of D. Girard Clark spoke about his passion for farming and the Cougars, prior to the dedication of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences’ Alumni Hall of Honored Alumni and Friends.
Girard grew up on the Palouse and farmed the land his grandfather homesteaded in 1883. He raised three sons and a daughter alongside his wife, Betty Webb Clark. Girard passed away on January 29, 2007.
Betty described Girard as a hard worker, who was always the first person to start the farm tasks each morning. “He never wanted to do anything else, he loved to farm and was grateful that he could do something he loved,” she said.
After graduating from Pullman High School during World War II, Girard was deferred from active duty to help his father farm. He started classes at Washington State College in fall 1946.
“He saw college as an opportunity not to pass up,” said Jane Stewart, his only daughter.
Girard graduated in 1950 with a BS in Agriculture Economics. He was called to active duty and worked out of San Antonio, Texas during the Korean War. For three years, he was responsible for repairing and maintaining aircraft engines.
Betty found a letter written by Girard describing his uneasiness about returning to farming after being out of the loop for so long. Despite his uncertainties, Girard would successfully farm crops—like wheat, garbanzo beans, pea, barley and lentils—for the rest of his life.
While at WSC, Girard never missed a football or basketball game. He was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and enjoyed the social activities that came along with fraternity life. Girard especially enjoyed taking Betty—a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority—on dances and other social outings.
“He enjoyed classes too,” Betty said. “He thought a lot of his professor, Art Peterson, and kept in contact with him for many years.”
Girard’s dedication and appreciation of WSU extended well beyond his college years. The Clark family farm still provides WSU researchers with plots of land on which to conduct their experiments.
“To Girard, being a Coug meant going to sporting events, even when they weren’t doing well,” Betty said. “He was so dedicated; he once plowed a snow-covered road just to get to a game.”
A Coug through thick and thin, D. Girard Clark received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1997.
By Brianna Brue, Marketing and News Services Intern