Dr. Curtis Basil Clark, 95, passed away on March 21, 2021, at Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Good Shepherd in Little Rock, surrounded by family. Curtis was born in Ico (Grant County), the son of John Newton and Ertle Mae Dorsey Clark. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 67 years, the former Lois Lea Rushing; and his siblings Lendsy Clark, Roy Clark, Mildred Clark Dorr, and Cary D. Clark, Sr. He is survived by his daughters Karen Smith and her husband, Dale, of Mabelvale and Trudy M. Randolph and her husband, Mike (Boot), of Russellville. He is also survived by his nephews Clark Dorr, Norman D. Clark (Pat), Cary D. Clark, Jr. (Mona), Douglas Clark (Dee), Steven Clark, and John Curtis Clark, Sr. (Pam). He was a former member of Bethel United Methodist Church and is a current member of First Landmark Baptist Church.
Curtis enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in January 1944. After completing aerial gunnery training in Las Vegas, Nevada he was assigned to the 15th Air Force, 840th Bombardment Squadron, 483rd Bombardment Group located in Southern Italy. He was a right waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress and was honorably discharged in November 1945 attaining the rank of Staff Sargent. He was awarded the Air Crew Member Badge (Air Crew/Gunnery Wings), American Theater Ribbon, European African Middle Eastern Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, and Victory Medal.
Curtis was a 1950 graduate of Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) and a 1954 graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Medicine. After completing an internship in General Medicine at Baptist Medical Center, he opened the Grant County Clinic in Sheridan in July 1955 and served his community as a family physician for 23 years. While in Arkansas, he was an advocate for and instrumental in the organization of the advanced nurse practitioner’s program through the Arkansas Medical Society. In 1978 he left private practice and accepted appointment as Assistant Professor of Family Practice with the University of Tennessee School of Medicine in Jackson, Tennessee where he developed the program’s Geriatric Training Program. He founded the first known Geriatric Abuse Intervention Team in the nation and lectured extensively on elder care in the southeastern United States as well as in England and France. In 1995 he was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, chaired by Hillary Rodham Clinton. He dedicated his life to improving the quality of life for the elderly population and in April 1996, he was awarded the Distinguished Applied Gerontologist Award by the Southern Gerontology Society. Curtis was Board Certified in Family Medicine. He was a life member of the American Medical Association, Southern Medical Association, and American Academy of Family Practice. He also held memberships in the Arkansas Medical Society, Tennessee Medical Society, and Southern Gerontology Society.
Curtis was an organizer and board member of the Grant County Nursing Home as well as the First National Bank of Sheridan (now Malvern National Bank), past president of the 483rd Bombardment Group, and member of the Pine Bluff Arsenal Citizen’s Advisory Committee. As a result of his work on the committee, Curtis was awarded the Public Service Medal Commendation from the Department of the Army. He was a 50 year member of Sheridan Masonic Lodge #260 and a 50 year member of Sheridan Chapter #212 Order of the Eastern Star. He held memberships in the American Legion Finis Gallion Post #30, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.
The family would like to thank Dr. Scott Winston and the staff of The Winston Clinic for the many years of care they provided Curtis. The family is grateful to Mr. Leonard Clegg who was Curtis’s “right-hand man” and his “home care angels” Mrs. Doris Hawkins, Mrs. Joyce Paxton, Mrs. Margaret Benning, Mrs. Lois Easterly, and Mrs. Roxanne Hedden for their care and dedication which allowed Curtis to remain in his home until it was necessary for him to relocate to a skilled care facility. Also, the family would like to thank the staff of Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Good Shepherd for the care and respect paid to Curtis during his courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Family visitation will not be held, but viewing will take place on March 26, 2021, from 2:00 PM until 7:00 PM at Buie Funeral Home in Sheridan. The wearing of masks and social distancing, per COVID-19 guidelines, will be required. Services will be private for the family. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Curtis’s memory may be made to America’s VetDogs (a veteran service dog program), 371 East Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, New York, 11787-2976; the Grant County Museum; or a charity of your choice.
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