Hilary Thomas Clark was born on February 26, 1929 in McGregor, Texas, to John Clark and Lizzie Thomas. Hilary was the 3rd child born to Lizzie Thomas. Hilary’s siblings included five brothers: Jack, Roscoe, Roy, RL, and Curtis. He had five sisters: Beatrice, Willie, Maezella, Lizzie, and Evia.
Though he had just a seventh grade formal education, Hilary was determined to make his life better than he foresaw in his future in McGregor. In his words, “ I lied about my age,” and was accepted into the military. While he never saw action, he served as a Quartermaster and received an honorable discharge as a Private. Hilary’s military service entitled him to all the benefits that would put him on the path to success. His biggest success was his marriage to Doshie Lee Brannon whom he met through a friend. With Doshie’s support, he was able to purchase his first home through the G.I. Bill. Hilary and Doshie went on to create a blended family of nine children in a marriage that ended with Doshie’s death just shy of their 50 year anniversary.
Hilary always loved a good time and was often the last person on the dance floor! If there ever was a lady who did not have a dance date, she could count on not leaving the party until Hilary had a dance! Hilary and Doshie had many longtime good friends. Weekly Bid Whist card parties with rotating hosts were a staple of their entertainment. They also shared many fancy nights out at McElroys, a nightclub that was openly friendly to the Black community. Hilary also traveled extensively inside and out of the country with family and friends. An avid fisherman and hunter. He introduced wild game and fresh fish into the diets of his children, sometimes to their chagrin. Croppies and Smelt; Oh My! And, none of his children will eat “Bambi” to this day!
After the Military, Hilary’s work career included working for Southern Pacific Railroad and Portland Public Schools. Hilary had multiple businesses, including Hilary Clark Construction
Preceding Hilary in death were his wife, Doshie Lee Clark, two sons, Donald Allen Clark and Ricky Van Clark and his firstborn daughter, Margaret Clark. Hilary leaves to mourn his passing, his sister, Maezella Marlborough, sisters-in-law Jean Winters, Merle Rogers, and Doris Cumby; his children: Lurlene Johnson Shamsud-Din, Carolyn Johnson Gamble, Ozie Johnson, Jr., Beverly Edmondson, Linda Sue Beasley, Larry Dean Clark and Harold Thomas Clark. Hilary’s other children are the spouses of his children: Jeddy O. Beasley and SK Clark. He was blessed with 26 grandchildren, 60 great grands, and 8 great-great grandchildren. Hilary leaves numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
While Hilary will be missed by his family and many friends, he has left us with memories of his sense of humor, his tireless work ethic, and many unbelievable and outrageous stories to tell.
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