H-CENTRAL COAST

Aug 14, 2013 7:35 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

Large crowd at memorial for Judge William P. Clark

William P. Clark was on a first name basis with some of Washington's most powerful. He served on the California Supreme Court for a decade or so, and many in D.C. simply called him "Judge". President Reagan depended on his advice during tense Cold War times when Clark served as his National Security Adviser. Clark died on Saturday at 81 of Parkinson's disease, and today a lot of people made long journeys to say goodbye. The cars were lined up nearly as far as the eye could see. Hundreds made the hike up the hill on his Shandon ranch to the chapel he built. To those who traveled from other parts of the globe, it may have seemed the middle of nowhere, but to this man of great political and judicial power, it was the place he loved best. It was where his family was. "The five of us were very good at keeping dad off a pedestal." said his daughter Nina Negranti. Today it was about sharing his roots with the rest of the world...the place he came to escape the pressures of politics and judicial life. It was his sanctuary, and his playground said Negranti. She also pointed out his love of his red tractor and his airplanes. "To this day we are all ready to bail out of a moving object." Today's service was about a man who instilled in his 5 children, 9 grandchildren and one great grandchild, that the janitor deserves as much respect as the dignitary. "Dad had no patience for bigotry or snobbery." said Negranti. "Most of all he loved this country, particularly the local Hispanic community. Chapel Hill reflects his love for all of you," she told those in the crowd who often attended mass here. He played a role in American history, but it was his role in his community that was most evident today. "In that sense, your father had a PHD, in integrity" said Father Masseo Gonzalez at the service today. "And it's a beautiful virtue." Those who knew him say his heart was as big as the doors to the Chapel he built here, that his character was matched by his sense of humor, and that his family will live with the gift of this his legacy. "While Mom's respite in heaven is over as she once again inherits Dad as her charge in heaven," said Negranti, "She will keep reminding him that God, not Dad is in control." Father Gonzalez pointed out Clark's deep faith, and love of the community in which he lived. "As far as I know Bill Clark was offered a position on the Supreme Court. He turned it down. He wanted to come back. Why? To be with his family, to be here." Father Gonzalez went on to tell the story of Clark building the Chapel on the Hill. "He builds his chapel, concerned about those who are passing through that they have a place to receive the Eucharist, concerned about the Hispanics in the local community. So that's how I came here and he got a mass started for them. So I do a mass in English and one in Spanish, and he shows up here every Sunday for both to be close to the Eucharist." What those who made the trek got to see Wednesday, was the man behind the headlines. They saw his love of family in his children. They saw his love of country in the singing of "God Bless America" as his coffin was carried way. They saw his love of community in the Mariachi band that played after that. And they saw his modesty in the simple wooden coffin in which he chose to be laid to rest.

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