Ernest Clark, Jr. Photo by Anintard Henderson, Photographers@large.
By Randie Ellington
If you have ever met Mr. Ernest Clark, Jr., you would remember him for many things. In particular, you will remember his constant, sincere smile and his dedication to help others be successful. Despite his untimely passing in 2017, there is so much more to know about the well known and respected Oakland real estate and non-profit community leader.
Clark was born in Fresno and raised in Long Beach andgraduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School. He served in the Air Force, where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. In 1969, he began his professional career as a grade school teacher while he earned his Master’s Degree. In 1972, he moved his family to Castro Valley and accepted employment with the U.S. Department of Education, where he worked to open education centers in developing countries throughout the world.
The family soon moved to Oakland in 1978 and Clark decided to change careers. He started selling real estate first from his home, and then for Red Carpet. Eventually, Mr. Clark obtained a broker’s license and opened Seville Real Estate, in 1986.
As a local real estate professional, Clark was involved in countless organizations and causes. He served as the president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NARAB) and the Associated Real Property Brokers (ARPB). He also served on the Advisory Board of the Federal Home Mortgage Association.
Clark’s community work included executive director of the Long Beach Community Improvement League, board chair of the East Bay Volunteers of America, And most recently he was a board member and vice president of the Oakland Citizens Community for Urban Renewal (OCCUR). He was one of the first independent entrepreneurs in the East Bay to provide small affordable working spaces and a law library for attorneys and real estate agents just starting out in their careers. In every role, Mr. Clark demonstrated his belief in helping others.
Toastmasters International recognized Clark as a respected “Servant Leader” and he remained an active member for 25 years. He attended weekly meetings and unselfishly offered his insight and experience. He mentored the newer members and club leaders. He would often invite and sponsor new members who were seeking to improve their communication and leadership skills.
Shortly before his passing, ARPB Toastmasters club hosted an open house to celebrate the club’s 25th anniversary and show appreciation to Clark. He was presented with a district-wide appreciation award for his years of support and leadership within Toastmasters and the community.
Clark’s daughters also gave him a surprise 80th birthday party at his home just two weeks prior to his death. Countless close friends, community leaders, industry professionals and family members came to share how Mr. Clark had affected their lives.
Mr. Clark passed on September 30, 2017. Former wives Betty Rhone and Harriet Wedgeworth preceded him in death. Still carrying his memory are his children: Patrice Clark, Keith Clark, Melanie Sowell and Maya Clark, and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Through it all, his ever-present, and sincere smile shines as bright as ever in the memory of those who knew him.
As he lived, he unselfishly helped others become successful and he will not be soon forgotten for making a difference in the lives of others.
And in the words of Booker T. Washington, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”