Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

James L. Clark

In Memoriam

May 31, 1940 - May 4, 2023

James Louis Clark was born on May 31st, 1940 in Warren Ohio. He was the eighth of nine surviving children of George A. and Marjorie Pearl Clark. As a child, Jim had a deep fascination with building and construction. He took his first job at age 12 working for an Amish carpenter. This fine gentleman recognized Jim’s abilities and quickly promoted him from nail straightener to assistant. By the time Jim was 13, he was confident enough to spend the summer constructing a new cellar under his family's farmhouse. This incredible precociousness would show up in everything he would do throughout his life.
He attended Vienna High School, the same school that his mother and eight siblings had graduated from. There he played basketball, was a member of the National Honor Society, First Chair of America, Buckeye Boys State and was four year Class President. The friends he made at Vienna High would remain dear to him throughout his life. Their reunions were always attended and greatly enjoyed. One very close friend was his old basketball coach Randy Wilson. They spoke frequently by phone and Jim grieved his “Coach” deeply, when he passed away just last year.

In 1958 Jim enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Flight Navigator on C-119 and C-130B inflight air refueling. While stationed in Pensacola Florida he was invited down to West Orange county by his friend Steve Holland. Steve’s future wife Connie set him up on a blind date with Ruth Ogren of Windermere. They would marry a year later and move to Cherry Point, South Carolina.
After a four-year tour he obtained his FAA Flight Navigator rating and flew for Flying Tiger Line, Southern Air Transport and other government run airlines Throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and South East Asia.

His boyhood heroes had been the exploits of the Flying Tigers in Burma and China. And as fate would have it, during his tour with FTL, the cargo airline that the original 15 Tigers had formed, he was fortunate to navigate for Gill Bright, Bob Neal, Ed Rector and Dick Rossi, all of whom had been pilots and Aces with the original CNAC Flying Tigers.
After a serious air crash in Laos, James was taken off flight duty and returned to Florida where he was employed as an architectural draftsman by his father-in-law, Samuel Ogren, the famous Florida architect. With Sam’s blessing he commenced a career in the construction and design business and became a licensed pilot in order to manage his projects around the South East and in the Caribbean.

Jim eventually headed a major land development and construction firm in Florida and developed a record 42,000 acres of city sized projects over 48 years, mostly in Central Florida. One of the projects he was most proud of was the management of the restoration of the 1,000 room, El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, PR, over an eleven-month period after its destruction by Hurricane George in 1998.

Jim and Ruth had three daughters Christine Weber, (Richard), Sharon Stenger (Timothy) and Patricia Chaffee (Chuck) and one son James junior who they raised primarily in Windermere, Florida. Throughout their childhood, Jim was not only a wonderful father but a wonderful playmate to his kids. His hobbies were well known in the neighborhood. From cars to planes to sailing, every weekend he would take his kids out for a day of fun. Jim worked hard but played harder.

Sailing and camping became the family’s favorite pastime. Many afternoons were spent together as a family sailing around the Butler chain of lakes. The waterways of Florida held a special place in Jim’s heart and he would devote a lot of time working on environmental causes for his adopted state.

In 2009 James Jr. (Jimmy) passed away. Jim was a pillar of strength for his family through this terrible time. It was a strength that he had to call up again in 2014 when Ruth suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. For four years, Jim, assisted by his daughters, cared for Ruth at home. She passed away in 2019. The absolute devotion he showed his wife in her final years was moving to all who witnessed it. They were married for 59 years.
Jim is survived by his three daughters, 9 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. And one spoiled cat.

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