My Great Uncle Clarence was a patient, soft spoken gentleman. He helped me immensely with my genealogy research. He answered my endless questions without complaint. He and Aunt Lavon showed warm hospitality when we visited them in Ohio. They are missed by many.
Clarence William Mark
30 May 1917 OH – 1 August 2006 OH
Husband of Lavon Eleanor Moyer
Brother of my paternal grandmother, Ivy Mark Brown
Clarence’s daughter, Glenda (Mark) Jordan wrote about this time in her father’s life.
My father was sent to Zanesville, Ohio where the camp was set up at a golf course. The men at his camp were to build dams out of clay for farmers to provide water for their cattle and use for emergencies. One such emergency arose during his work there and the men used the water to fight a barn fire at one of the farms they had been working on. They carried the water in milk cans to pour into the pumper. The barn was destroyed but they managed to save an adjoining building. In the fall the men also gathered seeds from trees such as Black Locust, Popular and Ash for the government nursery.
During their time of service, the men stayed in barracks with five or six men living in each. They were paid thirty dollars a month for their work. At the end of the month, twenty-five dollars was sent directly home to their families and the men each received five dollars. At first this didn’t seem very fair but my father explained that the purpose of the CCC was to get the young men off the streets and give them something to do while providing money for their families.
My father spent a total of nine months in the CCC. When his time of service ended, he returned home and looked for work in local factories. It was almost a year before he was hired in a valve factory in the spring of 1936. He was paid forty cents an hour and worked there until he was laid off in 1939.
At this time he began working on a relief program maintaining the local park and tennis courts. He was eligible for this program because his father had been disabled since an accident in 1930. His father had received compensation from the state of Ohio but his benefits had recently terminated as he had received the maximum allowed. It was another two years before an appeal would declare him permanently disabled and entitle him to receive benefits for the rest of his life. This resumption of benefits certainly helped to ease the burden on the rest of the family.
For a brief time my father also worked in the Works Project Administration. He worked with young people at the Methodist Ohio Christian Youth Festival. This provided my father with opportunities for contact with college professors who had come to teach. He had never considered college before as an option in his life but through these contacts he became interested and enrolled at Baldwin-Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940. His father gladly provided some of the money for college since my father had spent several years supporting the family.
With the growing inevitability of the U. S. involvement in WWII, the draft began that same year, 1940. However, my father received a deferment because he was in college. After two years of study at Baldwin-Wallace, he developed rheumatic fever which caused him to return home over the summer to recuperate. By this time, the U. S. had declared war on Japan and my father’s draft number had come up.
When the war broke out in 1938, my father had already decided that in the event of war he would want to be a Conscientious Objector. Before he could be granted that status an appeal board had to hear his case. This had to be delayed because of his illness. After a one month extension the judge granted my father a 4-E status and he began service in the Civilian Public Service.
The CPS was administered by the Brethren, Mennonite, and Quaker churches and my father was allowed to choose which church he would like to work for. Because he had already known something of the other two, he chose the one which he was not familiar with, the Church of the Brethren. I guess that is typical of my father. He is always ready for a new experience.
My father was sent to the base camp at Marionville, PA where he spent the next four months maintaining the Allegheny forest. Most of his duties were chopping wood, clearing fire ditches, and timber thinning. He was paid two dollars and fifty cents per month by the church.
During my father’s stay at Marionville, personnel from a Connecticut mental hospital came asking for volunteers to go there to work. Many doctors and nurses had been drafted leaving the hospital short of help. He decided to go because it would be a better opportunity to help people. He describes it as very tiring work. The volunteers were on call twenty-four hours a day. After two years he asked for a transfer to something different.
My father was then sent to a Medical School in New Haven Conn. where he took part in experiments to see how hepatitis spreads. He was used basically as a “guinea pig” during these experiments. Fortunately he didn’t get sick. He remained at the school for nine months until he was transferred back to base camp.
In February of 1946 the government took over the base camp and transferred my father to Gatlinburg, Tennessee where he cleared trails through the mountains until his discharge in April of that same year.
From Gatlinburg my father hitchhiked to North Manchester, Indiana. Because of his work in the CPS, the Church of the Brethren offered him four years free tuition at any of their colleges. He was so impressed with the church’s generosity and also their stance on pacifism and service to others that he wanted to be a good place to meet a woman of the same ideals and values. He was right. He and my mother married after their graduation from Manchester College.
Clarence’s niece, Genevieve (Brown) Wieland, also wrote about the war years. She wrote, “Uncle Clarence had deeply felt religious convictions that led him to become a conscientious objector. He nearly lost his life in a hospital in Conn. when they experimented on him with drugs to find a cure for malaria.” His sister, Wava wrote, “They tried to inject him with Diseases so they could try and cure it. But he didn’t catch it. So they made him a cook.”
Lavon E. (Moyer) Mark wrote about her romance with Clarence,
We met at Manchester College, Indiana. He was back from CPS & I was finishing my college work that summer. We dated until Christmas and then broke up. We both became engaged to someone else, but got back together again and were married on Thanksgiving of 1950. We had 55 good years together.
On 23 November 1950 Clarence married Lavon E. (Moyer) Mark. They were both teachers. Lavon wrote, “Clarence and I taught at the same school those 15 years that he taught before we retired. We rode back and forth together. I taught 31 years, mostly second grade.” They had two daughters, Teresa A. (Mark) Fryman and Glenda (Mark) Jordan.
A July 1993 trip to Ohio included a visit with Great Uncle Clarence and Aunt Lavon. He shared family genealogy information and Aunt Lavon cooked a delightful lunch. My children enjoyed the wooden swing in the backyard, built by Thomas K. Mark. Adam had a pin collection and Aunt Lavon showed him her collection of over 1,000 pins and buttons. In December 1993 Clarence wrote, “Today we are to go with our Harmonica Band to play for the Early Risers Club. We have pleasant memories of your visit and your beautiful children playing in our backyard.”
About 1996 Clarence and Lavon moved to a retirement home in Greenville, Ohio called the Brethren’s Home.
Clarence and Lavon celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2000. There was a reception at the Greenville Church of the Brethren. Clarence wrote, “This is a busy month for us as we plan for our 50th wedding anniversary. It is on the 23rd but we will have an open house at the church on the 26th. Our daughters, Terri and Glenda and their children plan to come on Saturday and have supper with us here at the home.”
In May 2001 Clarence W. Mark wrote,
Living in a retirement center is quite different. We moved to be close to Lavon’s parents. ... Our older daughter (Teresa) and her family still live here in town. She is an organist at the Presbyterian Church and a teacher’s aide in the high school music department. Her husband Jim still works for the state care for handicapped. The older boy Darrell is living here too - has a job in some kind of computers. Andrew is a senior next year at Faith Christian School. Glenda our second daughter lives in Rochester, Indiana. Works at the Public Library that has a children department. She plans stories and activities for the young children. We try to keep busy with volunteer work and hope to travel more now but gas prices slow us down. I am weaving rugs from old denim jeans. Lavon gets called on for music on the piano. We both play in the Darke County Harmonica Band. We play at nursing homes and church or social groups for donations which we give to Hospice.
In December 2002 Clarence wrote, “We both sing and Lavon plays piano for our choir. We will have our Christmas program today. On Christmas we will have our daughter Terri and her family here to eat with us in the dining hall. We get out every couple months to visit Glenda and hers in Rochester, Indiana.”
In October 2004 Wava (Mark) Braun wrote, “My brother Clarence and Lavon live in a Nursing Home run by their church in Greenville, Ohio. He had a fall and broke his hip. They think he has had mini strokes.” In 2005 she wrote, “Clarence not well. Had a Broken Hip. Lavon says he doesn’t talk much. They are giving him therapy hoping to get him to walk better. Ann and I went to see them twice but it is a long trip.”
Lavon wrote in January 2005, “Clarence fell and broke his hip. Two weeks later I stumbled over his wheelchair footrests and broke my hip. We were both in the Medical section of this home, but I was able to come back to my room ... Clarence sits in a wheelchair and doesn’t walk and sleeps a lot of the time ... So life has changed for us, but we still have much to be thankful for. I don’t get away much, but I try to keep up with my playing for the choir here.”
The following year Clarence W. Mark died. An Ohio newspaper clipping had an obituary,
Clarence W. Mark, 89, of Greenville, Ohio, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006, at the Brethren Home of Greenville. He was born May 30, 1917, in Medina County, to Thomas K. and Regina V. (nee Gruissy) Mark. Mr. Mark was a member of Greenville Church of the Brethren, Darke County Harmonica Band and Darke County Retired Teachers Association. He attended Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from Manchester College and his master’s degree from Ball State University. He was a retired fifth-grade teacher at North Miami Community Schools of Denver, Ind., having taught there for 15 years. He also owned a tailoring and pressing shop in Indiana. He is survived by his wife, Lavon (Moyer) Mark of Greenville, whom he married Nov. 23, 1950; daughters, Terri (Jim) Fryman of Greenville and Glenda Jordan of Rochester, Ind., grandchildren, Darrell (Gina) Fryman, Andrew Fryman, and Justin and Jessica Jordan; sister, Wava Braun of Seville; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Isabel Nee, Vera Ballard, Ivy Brown and Viola Nothstein; and brother, Owen Mark. Memorial service: 2 p.m. Friday at the Brethren Home Chapel of Greenville. The Rev. Todd Reish will officiate. Burial: Greenville Cemetery at the convenience of the family. Visiting hours: One hour prior to the memorial service Friday at the Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to the Brethren Home for Residents’ Fund or Hospice of Drake County. Zechar Bailey Funeral Home in Greenville and Armstrong-Waite Funeral Home in Seville are handling the arrangements.
Lavon died 11 September 2007.Her daughter, Teri wrote, “She had been in declining health over the last 6 months and then went through a week long ICU & 2 week hosp. stay. We were able to get her back to the retirement community in Greenville for 4 days before her death.” 
The above story of Clarence was taken from my book,
The above story of Clarence was taken from my book,
The Mark Family Story.
The Mark Family Story.
Certificate of Birth for Mark, 30 May 1917, Registered District No. 827, Registered No. 53M, State of Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Medina County Health Department, 4800 Ledgewood Drive, Medina, Ohio. Note: No first name given.
“Interview with Clarence Mark.”
“American History Report, 1965 – Present”, Spring 1993 by Glenda (Mark) Jordan for Manchester College.
Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author July 2005.
Letter from Lavon Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, 17 August 2006.
Letter from Clarence Mark (1346 Jackson Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, December 1993.
Letter from Clarence Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, 1 November 2000.
Letter from Clarence W. Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, 25 May 2001.
Letter from Clarence W. Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, December 2002.
Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author October 2004.
Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author, July 2005.
Letter from Lavon Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, January 2005.
"Clarence W. Mark." Medina County Gazette9 August 2006.