Editor’s Note: Duane Woltjen (former Highlands Chapter President) and his wife Judy sent me this information and I thought it was a wonderful profile of Joe Clark, a founding Ozark Society Member. It is a compilation of 2 articles that they sent and a biography by Lynn Nabb, Joe’s granddaughter. Thanks to Woltjens and Lynn! C. Shearman
Joe Marsh Clark was born in 1903 in Salem, MO. He received his BS and MS from the University of Missouri in Geology and worked for several oil companies of the course of his career. In 1929 he married Maxine Bradford who had a degree in Nursing from University of Missouri and also an MS degree in Botany from the University of Tulsa. In 1961 they received an offer from Arkansas Western Gas and moved to Fayetteville AR. That’s where they became involved in the early efforts to protect the Buffalo River from the series of dams that the Army Corps of Engineers proposed for the river.
In May 1962 the Ozark Society was formed and Joe became the editor of the Ozark Society Bulletin in Spring 1967. The Bulletin featured conservation and education articles as well as showcasing Ozark photography and historical essays. And, Maxine always contributed a botany article to each edition. In 1968, Joe and Maxine received two distinguished awards for their work: Conservation Communications Award from the Arkansas Wildlife Federation and the National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation for their work on the Buffalo River, the Ozark Society, and the Bulletin.
In 1995 when Joe Clark was 92, a 2 ½ mile trail around Lake Wilson was completed by members of the Highlands Chapter of the Ozark Society and named in honor of him. About 50 people attended the opening of the trail. Neil Compton and Joe were both on hand and Duane Woltjen lead the dedication to Joe and saluted his long-time dedication to Arkansas conservation and communications. Right after the dedication some of Joe’s photography slides were shown at a national conference at Lake Wedington Lodge. Maxine passed away in 1988: Joe, in 2000. Dear friend Joe Nix said, “I hope I can always go slow. The Clarks taught us how to observe and really appreciate the beautiful world in which we live.”