County officials remember Clark

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Pickens County Council met Monday night, but a familiar face in the crowd was missing.
Outspoken activist Weldon H. Clark Jr. passed away March 30 at age 75.
clarkClark was remembered during the meeting as a passionate defender of freedom who loved to help others.
During the public forum portion of the meeting, Dan Winchester spoke of Clark. The two worked closely together in the Pickens County Taxpayers Association.
“Weldon was an ever-present figure here, pretty much on the front row of all our meetings,” Winchester said. “He was one of my best friends. He was a great person.”
Clark was a “talented engineer,” especially in the field of gear trains, with many of his theories, experiments and papers still in use today, Winchester said.
Clark was a generous person who was helping relatives through medical school, he said.
He was a defender of rights, serving on the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors for 13 years.
“He was a principled man,” Winchester said. “He was a tireless man. He defended the Second Amendment, and he was an unyielding lover of liberty.
“He leaves a great void in our county,” he continued. “I think we just can’t duplicate Weldon Clark. He was one of a kind.”
County councilman G. Neil Smith signed up to speak last during the public forum portion. He explained that Clark was the reason he did so. Clark often spoke during public comment periods of meetings.
“He always said, ‘Put me last,’” Smith said.
Clark often told county officials “what we did wrong,” Smith remembered.
“We said OK, if we’re doing those things wrong, we’re going to give you a seat at the table and then you can help us fix those wrongs,” he said.
He became “a solution to a lot of our problems,” Smith said.
Over time, Clark became a voice for the people and helped get the word out on issues, Smith said.
“They might not trust us — the politicians — but Weldon had criticized us enough, he had stature with them,” Smith said. “That ended up being something good for usm because he never pulled any punches. If he had any issues with any positions that we had, he would state them.”
Planning director Chris Brink shared personal comments on Clark, who was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2009.
“You will never find a truer champion for Pickens County than Mr. Clark,” Brink said. “It was a sure pleasure and joy having him on the planning commission.”
Clark never let political differences get in the way of doing a “true championship job on the commission,” Brink said.
“It’s going to be hard to fill his seat on the planning commission,” he said. “You’ll never find anybody that loved to participate in government, talk about government, talk about functions of government, more than he did.”
Clark was “a true planning commissioner,” Brink said. “Exactly what you wanted in a citizen planner.”
“He didn’t get paid for it, didn’t get any benefits for it,” he said. “He was here at every meeting that he could attend.”
Smith said he will make nominate a replacement for Clark on the commission at a later date. That nomination will then be taken up by council.
Private services were held for Clark on Monday in Augusta, Ga.