ASHVILLE— Douglas E. Clark, Ashville’s Police Chief since 2010 and Harrison Township Trustee, has died.
Throughout his public service career, Clark, 60, served as a Harrison Township Firefighter, Pickaway Township Firefighter, Pickaway County Sheriff’s Deputy, and Ashville Village Council Member. Clark also was recently re-elected as trustee of Harrison Township on Nov. 7. According to his obituary, he died following a brief battle with cancer.
Several members of the community and elected officials offered their condolences to the family via social media, and several spoke with the Herald Monday.
Chuck Wise, Ashville’s mayor, grew up with Clark and had been friends with him since childhood, jokingly blaming Clark for Wise’s career as a police officer.
“I am a lot of what I am because of him,” Wise said. “Back then, he talked me into joining the fire department and then the police department. Here we are all those years later doing the same stuff. Doug has been a long-time friend.”
Wise recalled the story of when they first met in Circleville at Mound Street as third graders 50 years ago.
“I remember his mom and dad bringing him into my classroom at Mound Street school,” Wise said. “The teacher put his desk against mine and said, ‘We have a visitor,’ and a few minutes later here comes Doug and they introduce him to class. The teacher told me, ‘It’s your job to introduce him to everyone at school and make sure he’s where he’s suppose to be,’ and we’ve been friends ever since.”
Wise said he and Clark have been known to be close over the years and never let any conflicts get between them.
“He gave me my first black eye,” Wise said. “We were nine years old, fighting over a football. He popped me in the eye I popped him in the mouth. Wasn’t too long and he called and said, ‘Do you want to spend the night? My parents said it was okay.’ I went over and spent the night that night.”
Another story Wise shared was how he got roped in to joining the fire department and later the police force.
“At 18, he told me we were going to the fire department and when we went to the fire department at Pickaway Township and he brings me there and said, ‘Chuck wants to join the fire department,’ and I said ‘I do?’” Wise said. “A few years later, I was old enough to join the police department. I never had the desire to do it, it was never a goal, but he kept after me. So I told him I’d ride with him. Then it wasn’t too long, but I was going to school for it.”
Wise said they spent a lot of time together, he and Clark.
“I’ve probably spent as much time with him and his family as I have my brothers growing up,” he said. “We went to 28 Cincinnati Reds games one summer without season tickets. That was a good time.”
As for the future, Wise said it’s hard to picture Ashville without Clark involved.
“He’s spent a lot of years serving the community in a lot of ways,” Wise said. “I’m kind of having a hard time without him here. He’s just always been here in one form or another.”
Robert Radcliff, Pickaway County Sheriff, remembered Clark as a good friend and a great partner in law enforcement.
“Doug was a true friend, partner, brother in law enforcement, and probably my closest friend when it came to law enforcement,” he said. “When I decided to run for office, Doug was beside me. His loyalty and dedication and partnership is invaluable. When you look at the bank robbery, the homicide, there wasn’t anything we weren’t willing to work side by side on. It wasn’t about the credit, but it was about serving the residents of Ashville and Pickaway County. We were on the same page with that.”
Radcliff said he and Clark have known each other for a long time, since their fathers worked together.
“His father worked with my father and his whole family,” he said. “I’ve known Doug since I was a kid. We worked together as deputies and when we were both administrators of our departments. He’s just a great loss. I’m so proud of what he achieved in Ashville and the relationships he was able to build up there.”
As for those relationships, Radcliff said the partnership between Ashville Police and the Sheriff’s Office will remain strong because of what Clark accomplished.
“He will not be forgotten,” Radcliff said. “We’re going to be there to support the police department because that’s what he wanted. We’ll continue to be that partner just as if Doug was there.”
Teays Valley Superintendent Robin Halley remembered Clark as a positive influence on the district and its students.
“I have known Doug Clark for almost 50 years,” Halley said. “He was a good friend. He was also a great friend and supporter to the Teays Valley district. He was visible at events and was always available for anything we needed. He made TV a top priority for keeping our kids safe. We will miss him and his positive influence throughout our district.”
Franklin Christman, Ashville Village Administrator, said Jeff George is now acting police chief. Christman then spoke about the impact Clark had on the community.
“He’s been a very active member of the community,” Christman said. “He’s an individual that people can look up to and a model for community involvement. He knew this community well and knew the needs of the community and filled them. I’m sure he has a legacy with all the people he interacted with. He was very helpful in linking Ashville and the township when there were opportunities. He was a dynamic individual.”
Eric Edgington, Chief at Harrison Township Fire Department, said he and Clark, “got along great together,” and remembered times in the fire service together and how Clark was always there for the township and the village, no matter if that was as Trustee, firefighter or police officer.
“I remember at our old fire house on Cherry Street he and I spent hours in there shooting pool,” Edgington said. “He was always there when needed. He had a big involvement in getting the new station built. He’d always tell me what went on during that period. I remember him being on the grain fire in the late 80s. Any time there was something huge, a disaster or whatever, he was there whether he was police or fire. He had a lot of involvement on the public service side.
“He was always serving the community in some type of hat,” Edgington said. “One of the best attributes I always admire is when they know everyone, they know their name. He always knew everybody’s name and I always admire people like that.”
Darryl Ward, president of the Ashville Community Men’s Club, said Clark was a great man for the community and a great father. He also noted Clark was presented with the 2017 Distinguished Service Award by the club during the 4th of July Celebration this year.
“He was on the Men’s Club 30-plus years,” Ward said. “He’s the only person that’s been president three separate times. He’s run it for six years as president. He’s done numerous committees on the Men’s Club; he was awarded the Distinguished Gentleman award from the club last year. He’s a great friend to me, we went camping together and he loved going to McGuffey Lane concerts.”
For Chief Clark’s full obituary, see page A5.