Charles Robert Clark was born April 18, 1950 at Spencer, the son of Robert and Erma (Garoutte) Clark. He attended Royal High School, graduating in 1968. Charlie continued his education at Westmar College in Le Mars. He played football for Westmar College and excelled as a running back. Charlie earned a degree in education and used his degree to teach high school industrial arts at Royal. Along with teaching, Charlie's interest in sports led him to also coach track, football and junior high basketball.
Charlie loved his country, and he proudly served in the Iowa Army National Guard as a Sergeant with Battery A, 1st Battalion 194FA. In 1976 Charlie married Vicki Schoer in Spencer. In1983, Charlie's son Justin was born. Charlie and Justin would forever be best friends.
Charlie rocked - literally! Charlie was the rockin' drummer for "The Senders," a rock and roll band that played in venues across Iowa and the Midwest in the late 1960s and 1970s. His musical talent earned him the respect of musicians and fans, and in 2005, Charlie was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Charlie's skill with motor sports began early. During his college years he worked at the Phillips 66 gas station in Le Mars. After teaching in Royal for four years, Charlie took a position with Arnold Motor Supply in Spencer. In 1978 he built and managed Arnold Motor Supply in Le Mars. Eventually, Charlie's love for fabricating and engineering led him to the formation of Bruns Clark Machine in Sioux City in 1982. He later expanded to Le Mars in 1984 with Clark Engineered Machine, where his greatest joy was to dyno the engines he built.
In 1990 Charlie married Charlotte Rupp in Le Mars. Together they loved and laughed and operated the machine shop. From 2000 to 2005 they ran Harris Racing in Le Mars, building high-end race cars and manufacturing exclusive racing products. Charlie engineered many of the racing parts himself.
In addition to fabrication and engineering, Charlie was a champion race car driver. He raced his beloved number 22 car at tracks throughout the Midwest and won dozens of races and trophies. At the end of a race, he would emerge from his car, mud-splattered and smiling. After he retired from driving the race car, he took great pride in traveling to racetracks with his customers where he put his racing experience to work providing onsite expertise and customer support.
Charlie lived and died doing what he loved - being surrounded by family and friends, and racing cars. But most of all, he loved his wife, his son - and racing. He was a good man. He will be missed.
"Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up, and go racing in the street." (Bruce Springsteen).
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Charlotte Clark of Le Mars; his son Justin Clark and his fiancée Rachel Ward of Le Mars; an aunt, Doris Garoutte of Chokia, Minn., and father-in-law, Floyd Rupp of Sioux City. His faithful companions were his Border Collie Lucy and his "Granddogs" Zoomer and Daisy.
Charlie was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, and mother-in-law, Delores Rupp.
Funeral services will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the United Methodist Church of Le Mars, with the Rev. Jason Larson officiating. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. today (Tuesday) at the Mauer - Johnson Funeral Home of Le Mars. The family will be present from 5 to 8 p.m. to greet family and friends. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church prior to the funeral on Wednesday.
Stories, memories and expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com.