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Christopher Clark

Christopher Clark

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Obituary

Due to Covid-19, the funeral will be immediate family only, but will be live streamed Thursday at 11am MST. Visitation is by invitation only. The link to the viewing of Christopher Clark's funeral is https://youtu.be/IB7JWYr_Zog . This is a YouTube channel.
____________________________________________________

The Ballad of Christopher Layton Clark

July 30, 1972 - June 5, 2020

Christopher Layton Clark (who is currently haunting you) was a loving husband, father of five, a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a Leo. All of these things were important to him.

He was a masterful storyteller in his writing, his directing, and his retelling of every strange encounter with what seemed to be an endless line of odd misfits that came from all around the world just to be in his life long enough for all of us to hear about them; and love them like he did.

Christopher is the fourth of the nine Clark children of Stephen and Cindy Clark. Chris balanced the family of hunters and sports enthusiasts with his love of music and the arts. As a boy he played the piano, created haunted houses, trampoline routines, Boy Scout skits, plays, and collected siblings, cousins, and neighbors to film his many compelling home movies. He made friends everywhere he went. After moving him to different seats several times, an exasperated teacher asked why he didn’t just stop talking. Chris replied “I thought you wanted me to make new friends!”

Christopher would want it mentioned he was the Prom King and voted “Most Preferred” at Provo High Class of ‘90. And that his performance at Provo High as the King in The King and I earned him an acting scholarship to Brigham Young University.

As a young man, Christopher served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Finland. He came home with a love for Scandinavia and had many experiences that shaped the way he lived and served for the rest of his life. He taught the Gospel and made friends, loved the Finnish people, and gained some of his most entertaining stories as well as the ability to read palms.

Christopher continued his studies at BYU majoring in English (because it was more practical than theater) and auditioned for the English Society’s The Mysteries: Creation, a theatrical production where he was cast as Satan. There he met Lisa Valentine who was cast as a chicken on Noah’s Ark. Tale as old as time! Chris wooed her with his storytelling, intelligence, talent, charm, faith, rugged good looks and laughing. So much laughing. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple June 3, 1995.

Christopher was always busy with multiple jobs, and worked very hard to support his growing family with a career in theater. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in English and climbing the ladder at Barnes and Noble, he and Lisa took a risk and moved to England and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Directing Shakespeare at the University of Exeter, Devonshire, England, graduating with distinction. He went on to earn a PhD in Education Leadership/Theater at BYU while teaching full-time at Utah Valley University, going on to earn tenure as an Assistant Professor, become Chair of the Theater Department, and then achieve Full Professor.

Additionally, Christopher trained with The Steppenwolf School actor’s training in Chicago, Viewpoints movement training, Second City improvisational training, The Globe Theatre, London, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and many others. He wrote A Marrying Man, an original Shakespearean pastiche as well as adaptations of Macbeth, She Stoops to Conquer, Nosferatu, Hamlet, and Richard III.

He has had success as an actor for stage and film, but his love for directing is where he made his biggest impact and had his greatest creative success. He directed too many plays to list here, but each work of art made an impact in its own way.

Christopher was also a man of recognition and distinction. He was awarded the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Distinguished Directing Award, 2009, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Play Choice (She Stoops to Conquer, 2011 and Nosferatu, 2009). He was Utah Valley University Faculty Scholar of the Year, 2009, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Scene Choice twice, Deseret News “Best of Theater” Award: 2005, 2006, and 2010. Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Meritorious Achievemen In Playwriting Award (A Marrying Man, 2006) Steppenwolf School Acting Scholarship, 2005. UVSC Adjunct Professor of the Year, 2005, 2003, Edwin Rudd Scholarship, University of Exeter 2002. Just to name a few.

Christopher’s career included service. He was the director of the BYU Young Company Shakespeare Troupe, casting, directing and adapting 50 minute Shakespeare scripts for performance in elementary schools. He served on the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region VIII and a Festival respondent, and Circuit Seven Coordinator, 2009-2011. He was a guest lecturer all over the world, traveling and speaking at conferences about Shakespeare and Viewpoints. He came home to serve his congregation in Bishoprics, Scout camps, and Young Men Activities and meetings.

Christopher was the Director of the UVU Theatre Study Abroad Program, a program he loved which fueled his passion for directing theater. It also gave him an opportunity to live in London, his favorite place in the world, for one month out of the year. It was here that he saw the best theater in the world and filled his head with inspiration and ideas that he brought back home.

Christopher’s career was all about people; about the students and co-creators in the creative arts. His legacy is the legacy of all these actors, producers, directors, and creatives going out into the world and creating art with the tools and education and passion that they learned from Chris. On the wall in his office opposite his desk were the words “All is Love.” He put it there to remind himself that whether as a chair, a director, teacher, colleague, friend, or student, that no problem,no frustration was more important than the person in front of him, who was a child of God, a friend.

But even in face of great career success and accolades Christopher was so knocked out to see that his children inherited the best in him and more. He would happily admit Miles’ sense of humor was smarter than his; he was floored by Owen’s entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic; so proud of Phoebe’s interest in science and her authentic French accent; jealous of Hugh’s acting instincts in Romeo and Juliet and his filmmaking capabilities; and Margaret’s love of animals, as well as her love for the wacky, only rivaled by his own. He talked about his kids all the time. He is excited and proud of who they are.

Christopher was a fun father; he sang to his kids and got them to do funny lip syncs with him (which he took very seriously). He constantly introduced them to different kinds of music and took them to concerts and movies and plays to show them all the beautiful things in life. He encouraged his kids to find their own creative pursuits and expressions, and encouraged them to work hard and help their mother. He guided them with wisdom from his experience and told funny stories—the funniest stories. He gave them priesthood blessings, and taught them the Gospel of Christ by example and pretending he was the Apostle Paul on screen (and off). He insisted on yearly family vacations, quiet Sundays, a beautiful green lawn.

Christopher endured to the end with hope, optimism, laughter, and faith. He leaves family and friends who are forever changed by the love he freely expressed and gave, and inspired by the art they created together. As Zeus said in the extraordinary musical Xanadu, “That is the greatest achievement any of you might hope for: to love someone else and to create art.”

Christopher passed away on June 5, 2020 as a result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He spent his final weeks planning two different theatrical productions, writing a script, leaving joke reviews on Yelp “as a handicapped person,” acting as his kids’ self- proclaimed Seminary and Theater teacher, and planning an elaborate surprise for his wife in time for their 25th wedding anniversary.

He was undoubtedly met on the other side by loved ones, ancestors, and answers to all the conspiracies he long suspected.

**********

Due to Covid-19, the funeral will be immediate family only, but will be live streamed Thursday at 11am MST. Visitation is by invitation only. The link to the viewing of Christopher Clark's funeral is https://youtu.be/IB7JWYr_Zog . This is a YouTube channel.

Lisa would love to collect all the stories, memories, tributes, photos, and videos to pass on to her children and grandchildren. Please send yours, no matter how big or small to chrisclarkmemories@gmail.com.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    Walker Sanderson Funeral Home
    Address
    646 East 800 North
    Orem, UT 84097
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Visitation is by invitation only.
  • Service

    Location
    Riverwood Ward
    Address
    303 West 3700 North
    Provo, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Due to Covid-19, the funeral will be immediate family only, but will be live streamed Thursday at 11am MST. The link to the viewing of Christopher Clark's funeral is https://youtu.be/IB7JWYr_Zog . This is a YouTube channel.

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MM

Mike McGhee

Posted at 06:50pm

So much life in such a short time...
- - - - - - - - -
...And so farewell,
But fond farewell...
to time and place and friends....
We commence to make the world,
We commence to make what never ends...
Time and place and friends....
-REM-
JK

Jennifer Erekson Knudsen

Posted at 03:19pm
Chris Clark, is so loved by a large army of people. I was one of them. I have wanted to share my feelings about his passing but wasn't sure how to do it. It has made me so sad and I feel like there is a hole in the world. I so much would love his children and his children's children to know how great a man I believe he was. I will share my part here hoping it isn't too public and maybe his great grandchildren will read it and get a feeling of how they come from a remarkable heritage. I met Chris at BYU. I moved into his singles ward and we became fast friends. We bonded because he loved theatre. I was skeptical because he was an English major. How could he love theatre as I did if he wasn't majoring in it? How wrong I was! He was so devoted to his love of theatre, I wish my devotion was as strong. He came to visit me in my little house near his parents and made me feel immediately part of the ward and like we were the best of friends right from the beginning. (David Morgan another friend from the theatre was in that congregation with us) I remember sitting in Sunday School with Chris and David- Chris would find the funniest things to add to everything that was being taught. I found myself trying to hold back the laughter and enjoying myself immensely in those meetings. He had so many parties. He was delightful to be around and the gatherings always brought a huge crowd. He had a talent even in those huge affairs to make everyone feel as if they were his best friends. After I had known him for a little while we were cast in a BYU production, "Playing For Time". It's a play about a Concentration camp where they had an orchestra made up of the prisoners. Quite a depressing play- nope, not depressing because Chris was there. Chris played a few parts but one of them was a N a z i soldier. I played one of the orchestra members who played the accordion. I had to learn to play the accordion for the role and you can imaging the amount of material for his real life, real time stand up act he was able to use on that bit of ridiculousness. Some of our rehearsals were excruciatingly long. Lots of sitting and waiting, but again he made everything fun and even in those long rehearsals he made the littlest things seem hilarious. I loved being around him. He directed me in a play called "The Moon Over Buffalo" in Provo Utah. It was one of the best experiences I have had in a play. I have been around him socially and have known him for many years. I can attest that he led an amazing life. I am sure he had his faults - although I never saw them. I am sure he struggled in his own way, especially with the last part of his life. To hear him talk about those bad experiences, he made it easy to listen to, even to laugh at as it was breaking your heart. Once, when we had known each other for a short time. He came to my house and invited me to a piano recital he was having at his home. I asked him some questions about it and realized it was only for him and his family. Now, remember I am an actor and was young at the time, I thought the world was in love with me. I am still an actor and old now and realize how silly that was. I said I would come but was so worried that Chris was wanting to date me. Chris was a few years younger than me and immediately that made me not interested in him romantically. (I know the follies of youth) I fretted about it for a long time. This was going to ruin a beautiful friendship that we were creating. How would I let him down easily? I got to the recital. His mother's home is beautiful, she was so kind. Those of his family who were there were so gracious. He was funny. He introduced me to another girl who was there. She was sweet, beautiful, lovely. I could see in his eyes as he introduced me that he was in love with this girl. It was like watching one of the best of the romance movies. He loved her. No longer was I worried about our friendship. Lisa Valentine. She was his. I knew at that moment that his heart was locked and that I was an observer to their great story. I am grateful that I was able to observe for all of these years. I love Chris. I also love Lisa. They have inspired me, they have made me laugh. I have felt envious of their life together. They are not only exciting, funny and the best of friends. They are good people. They try to do what is right. They help other people. They have given themselves to the world. I am so blessed to have known both of them. If only more of us where a little like the the man Chris was on this earth..... I think it could heal all of the wrongs that are so prevalent here today. Most of all, he adored his wife and his sweet children and he loved God. His was a life well lived.
RM

Roy McDaniel

Posted at 10:51am
I knew Chris on his mission to Finland and worked with him briefly at BYU. He is one of the happiest people I knew, and I remember his kindness often.

Barry Grow

Posted at 04:00pm
The Clark family came into our lives and hearts about the time that Owen came on scene. Miles was already speaking in full sentences and could name off planets and stars better than most 40 year old people.(little smarty). Chris was adored his family and was so pleased. Lisa is the love of his life. He and Barry would often Joke about marrying above his station.
We loved attending. Chris's productions and especially enjoyed them when he was on stage. One facial expression could convey pages of dialogue - truely a master as is Lisa
His ability to find humor in every day moments endeared him to all - especially the youth. This talent gave him an edge when sharing his wisdom as well as testimony. . . they all listened!
Our lives will forever be enriched and changed because of our friend Chris and his family. You will always live in our memory and hearts. Love, The Grow Family
RK

Ryan King

Posted at 02:10pm
8 words into his obituary and Chris had me laughing again. What an incredible human being. May Lisa, his children, and family find comfort and peace.
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