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Billy C. Clark, 80 Distinguished Writer Dies March 15

MARCH 19 – Billy C. Clark, 80, of Farmville, formerly of Catlettsburg and Somerset, Kentucky, passed away Sunday, March 15, 2009 at his home.

Mr. Clark was born December 29, 1928, at Catlettsburg, a son of the late Mason E. and Bertha Hewlett Clark. He was a graduate of Thomas R. Brown High School, served with the United States Army during the Korean War, attended the University of Kentucky, and a member of the First Baptist Church in Somerset, KY.

Mr. Clark was a noted American author and one of Kentucky's most distinguished writers. He was an award winning author of 16 books and many short stories and poems. Such as, A Long Road To Hoe, on Time Magazine's Best Books of 1960. Trail of the Hunter's Horn was a Crowell-Collier Classic, and Song of the River won the Friends of American Writers Award as one of the three best books published in the South and Southwest in 1957. The Champion of Sourwood Mountain was offered by the Book-of-the Month Club. His short stories have appeared as Best American Short Stories and many of them have been anthologized in American literature books. Film rights for his novel, Goodbye Kate, were bought by Walt Disney Studios. Mr. Clark is the founder of Kentucky Writing and Virginia Writing.

Numerous works of his have been recorded on special tapes for the blind and sight-impaired. In 1992, a bridge spanning the Big Sandy River and connecting Kentucky to West Virginia on Route 60, was named the Billy C. Clark Bridge in his honor. Recipient of the Berea College Denny C. Plattner/Appalachian Heritage Award for Poetry, and in 1999 was honored with the Appalachian Treasure Award by Morehead University's Kentucky Folk Art Center. Mr. Clark was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Association of Educational Publishers in 2002.

Sadly left behind is a loving family including his wife, Ruth Ann Bocook Clark; a son, Billy C. Clark Jr. and wife Bridget; a brother, Jerry Lee Clark of Toledo, Ohio; and three grand-children, Jodie E. McGuire, Benjamin Clark, and Timothy R. Holbert; and very special friends, Sid Rice, Earl “Frosty” Lockwood, and Tina Dean.

Preceding him in death is a daughter, Melissa Beth Clark; two brothers, Bob Clark and James Clark; and four sisters, Mary Penix, Dorothy Bowman, Patty Workman and Margaret Vanatter.

A funeral service was held Thursday (today), March 19, at the Oakland Avenue Baptist Church in Catlettsburg. Interment was at Catlettsburg Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1645 Winchester Avenue, Ashland, KY 41101, or Feed The Children, P.O. Box 36, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-0036.

A memorial service will be held locally at a later date.

Puckett Funeral Home, Farmville, is in charge of local arrangements.