Nanticoke Indian Chief Kenneth Clark Sr, Chief Red Deer dies at 84
Chief Clark was born on November 10, 1930 to Charles C. Clark and Mary Estella Salmon Clark. He attended the Nanticoke Indian School and the Haskell Indian Institute in Lawrence, KS, before enlisting in the Navy in 1948, where he proudly served in the South Pacific as a member of the SeaBees. Returning to Delaware after service, in 1953 he married the love of his life, Ella Katherine Greenage. After working on the family farm and business with his father, Chief Little Owl, Charles C. Clark, Ken and Kitty moved their new family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Ken served as a Philadelphia Police Officer for eight years. Retuning to Delaware in 1965 at his father's request to help with the family farm, Ken both worked the farm and worked for the Delaware State Highway Department as a surveyor and inspector. Upon Chief Little Owl's death in 1971, Ken assumed the full time duties of operating the family farm and land rental business, Riverdale Park, begun by his grandfather a century ago.
Although Ken believed at the time of this father's death that the Nanticoke Tribe would not continue without his father's leadership, he honored his father's wishes and led other tribal members in reactivating and revitalizing the Nanticoke Indian Association in 1972. He was elected Chief of the Tribe that year, a position he held until his voluntary retirement in 2002. As a youth, Red Deer danced in the Circle at the Tribe's original Pow-wows held on the family lands on the bank of the Indian River. Under Chief Clark's leadership, the Nanticoke Tribe resumed its annual Pow-wow, which continues to this day as a preeminent event for both Native American participants nationwide and non-tribal visitors and guests. Thousands of people watched and enjoyed Chief Clark, in his regalia, preside over the two day event every year. During his tenure, the Tribe also became very active in the Council of Eastern Native Americans, worked closely with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, and received several state and federal grants. Under Chief Clark's guidance, the Tribe established both the Nanticoke Indian Museum and the Nanticoke Indian Center. Chief Clark represented his Tribe and the State of Delaware at numerous Pow-Wows, conferences, conventions and governmental functions around the country. Chief Clark was very proud of the efforts he and his son, Charlie undertook that resulted in the respectful re-interment of ancestors' remains at the Island Field Site and Thompson Island, as well as the enactment of the Delaware Native American Remains Act. Throughout his life, in both word and action, Chief Clark encouraged his family and Tribe to preserve and protect their Native American heritage and traditions, and others to value and respect them.
In 1974 Ken accomplished a life-long dream and obtained his private pilot's license. Ken and Kitty spent several enjoyable years in the 70's and early 80's flying their Piper Cherokee out of their home airstrip to locations far and wide.
Chief Clark was very active in State and local politics. He was a candidate for Sussex County Council twice, in 1986 and 1998, and for the State Senate in 1996.
Chief Clark also was recognized as a pioneer and leader in the resort lot rental and manufactured home community business. In 1981 he purchased one of the first personal computers available in Delaware, taught himself programming, and proceeded to automate the Riverdale Park business records and document production. He was a founding member and served continuously on the Board of Directors of the First State Manufactured Housing Association. With FSMHA he played a significant role in the negotiation and adoption of many provisions of the Delaware Manufactured Home Owners and Community Owners Act. In 2014, FSMHA honored Chief Clark with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Chief Clark was a respected friend to the 400 full time and seasonal families and residents that call Riverdale Park home.
Ken was predeceased by his parents, a step-father, George Amatril, and his brother, Charles C. Clark, Jr.
Ken is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ella Katherine Greenage Clark, as well as his four children, Kenneth S. Clark, Jr. (wife Lisa), Kathy Stella Clark, Charles C. Clark IV, and Mary Lisa Clark (husband Edward); nine grand-children, John Robert Clark, whom he raised (wife Amber), Rachel Clark, Catherine Clark Goodall (husband Jack), Sarah Clark, Hannah Clark, Victoria Clark, Hunter Clark Boccinfusco, Lydia Clark, and Ella Clark; and three great-grandchildren, Jacqueline, Jensen and Jace.
Visitations will be held Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm, and on Sunday, October 18, 2015 from Noon until 3:00 pm, at Watson Funeral Home Chapel, 211 S. Washington Street, Millsboro, DE 19966. A Memorial Service will be held at 3:00 pm on October 18, 2015 following the visitation at Watson Funeral Home Chapel, with full military honors. Interment shall be private.
Coutesy of Watson Funeral Home