Tom L. Clark, the former Town of Oyster Bay Councilman, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, was among the first to raise alarm when efforts were made to commercialize Nassau. The bright lights of New York City were great, but he wanted to keep them out of Hicksville, where he lived until he died on March 5.
Clark moved to Nassau County in 1965 and loved the charm and quiet of the suburbs and the people who ran the small businesses.
“He didn’t want Hicksville to become ‘The Hub,' ” said his former secretary Maryann Hughes, 68, of Levittown. “He wanted Hicksville to be the hometown place that he remembered it to be when he moved to Hicksville to raise his family."
Clark, a father of 10 and former Hicksville School Board president, served as a councilman from 1976-'99. He died of various health complications at his Hicksville home, his family said. He was 83.
As a councilman, Clark was instrumental in supporting senior citizen housing projects and the development of the S.O.R.T curbside recycling program. He also spearheaded campaigns to rebuild and upgrade parks across the town, including at Abe Levitt Field and Triangle Park in Hicksville, his family said.
After retiring from the town board in May 1999, he served as deputy commissioner of the Town of Oyster Bay Department of Public Works, his family said.
Clark grew up the fifth of nine children. After his mother passed when he was a child, he took on the role of protector comforting his younger siblings.
“He was very caring,” said sister Virginia Clark Todd, 77, of Connecticut. “If anything went wrong in the house or broke, he would fix it immediately.”
Added sister Monica Clark Passick, 81, of Plainview, “He was not allergic to hard work.”
Clark went to Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn and the College of Aeronautics in Queens, graduating with a degree in airframe and power plant. He served in the Army as a tank driver in Germany from 1958-'60. During basic training in Fort Hood, Texas, Clark met music legend Elvis Presley, who was also completing his basic training. The two struck up a friendship, but did not keep in touch after the service, his family said.
Upon returning from the Army, Clark married his wife of 58 years, Corinne, and began a 31-year career at IBM as a typewriter and photocopy repairman.
Clark was an active member of St. Ignatius Church in Hicksville, running their bingo nights with Corinne for 25 years, and serving on their pastoral council.
Clark is survived by his wife, Corinne, daughters Jeanine Stender of Bellmore, Claudette Crowley of upstate Pennfield, Genevieve Vesely of Suffolk County, Bernadette Pizzardi of Mineola, Loretta Clark of Seaford, Beatrice Ambrosio of North Carolina; sons Jeffrey of Mineola, Alexander of East Meadow, Douglas of Virginia, and Stephen of Hauppauge; sisters Monica Clark Passick of Plainview and Virginia Clark Todd of Connecticut. He was buried at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale March 9.