Sydney P. Clark, Jr.

sydney clark, jr.
Sydney Procter Clark, Jr. passed away quietly on Dec. 24, 2016. He was born in Philadelphia, PA to Sydney Procter Clark, Sr. and Isabella Mumford Clark. He is survived by his wife of 54 years Elizabeth ('Dibbie') Frey Clark. In 1947, he graduated from Pomfret School and later received both his B.S. ('51) and Ph.D. ('55) in Geology from Harvard University. After a brief period at the Carnegie Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, DC, he became the Sidney J. Weinberg Professor of Geophysics at Yale University for 25 years. Syd was one of the pioneers of geophysics, known for his early work on mineral physical chemistry and the uplift rates of the Alps using heat flow and radioactive geochronology, as well as theories of planetary formation. This later work led to lunar experiments conducted during three Apollo missions. Syd authored numerous papers and books. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Award to conduct research in Australia and served as a Trustee for Pomfret School. He enjoyed traveling with his wife Dibbie, gardening, 'Kailua' Bermuda, the theater, trains, and the company of family and friends. Above all, Syd was a loving husband, father and grandfather. In addition to his wife Dibbie, Syd is survived by children Edward Clark of Canton, Jordan Clark (Dorothy Pak) of Goleta CA, Elizabeth ('Lisa') Clark of Brookfield, and Christina Clark (Michael O'Hare) of New York, NY; and grandchildren Emily, Rachel, Isabel, Rebecca, Margaret, Logan, Daniel, Malachy, and Lleyton, to whom he read The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve. Services will be held on Friday, Jan. 6 at 11:30 am at the First Church of Christ, Meeting House Lane, Woodbridge. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Clark Chapel Endowment Fund at Pomfret School ( Arrangements in care of BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden.

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  1. Dibbie, I was so sorry to see the obituary for Sydney. I certainly knew he was not doing well after speaking with you many times on your trips with us.

    Please accept my sincere condolences for you and you family.

    Ron Comen, Tour Director, T&A Tours

  2. Dibbie, Thank you for your call. We had such a nice time on our trip to Ogunquit with you and Syd. Such a great career, lovely family, and full life. You are a great caretaker, Dibbie. So sorry to hear of Syd’s passing. Our deepest condolences. He seemed to be such a sweet natured man.

  3. Dear Debbie, Nina Luban recently told me of Syd’s death. I remember you telling me about your family tradition and how important it was to all of you. How heartbreaking and yet fitting that he should slip away on the day his kindness and wonderful sense of tradition drew all of you together. He was a lovely man. I had no idea he’d done such outstanding work and had such a fascinating career. All I knew was that he’d taught in the Geology Department at Yale. He was so self-effacing and so happy letting you lead in conversations. I loved your yearly parties when you had the studio down the hall and later when you invited us to your condo. I loved hearing about your trips, your time in Bermuda and Syd’s love of Connecticut. I loved seeing the two of you setting off for your walks around the lake or seeing Syd walk your dogs. You both did so much to make North Lake special. Thank you. I know you and your children will long hear Syd’s voice reading The Night Before Christmas, but I will long cherish with fond respect the memory of the kind, gentle soul so happy beside his energetic wife, the man of huge accomplishment whose sense of duty one couldn’t help but notice, but whose achievements I only learned about in his obituary. Syd Clark, the model of a kind, good man.

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