Two months after the death of Robert William Clark Jr., the local school board voted to dedicate its new Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, high school in his name. He graduated in 1936 from the old school, which was rebuilt and renovated as Robert Clark Memorial High School.
Mr. Clark was a fire controlman and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
He was born Oct. 1, 1917 in Grand Valley, Pennsylvania. His father, Robert Sr., was a pumper for an oil company, and his mother, Jennie Twombly Clark, a homemaker. The son joined the Navy on Oct. 9, 1940.
He had taken out a $1,000 life insurance policy and named his parents as beneficiaries. It included a provision for double payment for accidental death except for death in the military during war. The Equitable Life Assurance Society decided that the clause didn’t apply because the United States had not declared war when Mr. Clark was killed. The parents were unaware of the life insurance policy until each received a $1,000 check.
Note: The school district merged with another in 1969 and the Pleasantville school phased out high school grades.
Sources: The News-Herald of Franklin, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania application for World War II compensation; Census. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.