Clark Wesley Bullard Jr., a lifelong resident of Springfield and a decorated veteran of World War II, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. He was 95.
Although he did not discuss his war experience for many years, in later life he expressed great pride in his U.S. Army service, which took him from then-Camp Hood to Fort Ord and to the Philippines. He achieved the rank of Major after he led the 672nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion on Feb. 23, 1945, rescuing 2,147 prisoners from the Los Banos internment camp. Since the 1970s, he has attended battalion reunions and was admired by the men of Company B who served under him. He earned the Bronze Star Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Ribbon, American Theatre Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with 3 Bronze Stars, the Bronze Service Arrowhead, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon and the WWII Victory Medal.
Clark was known for his modest manner and sharp sense of humor. He was a loving husband to his wife Eileen Kloppenburg, whom he met downtown at Kresge’s lunch counter in 1939. They married 69 years ago on April 26, 1943. They wrote to each other every day they were apart during his military service, from 1941 to 1945. Together they raised 7 children in the 1886 Bullard family home at 318 S. Glenwood Ave. in Springfield.
Clark was born on July 25, 1917 to Clark and Nina (Summers) Bullard. He was an Eagle Scout and a 1935 graduate of Springfield High School. He attended the University of Illinois for 2 years studying architecture, and worked at the First National Bank until he was drafted in Oct. 1941. After the war, he worked at Baker Lumber Co., then for 31 years at the Federal Housing Administration, retiring in 1977 as chief construction cost analyst. He later sold real estate with Reavy & Flattery Realtors.
Clark’s father was a principal in Bullard & Bullard Architects of Springfield, which designed landmark Springfield buildings including Christ Episcopal Church. The firm was founded by Clark’s grandfather, Samuel A. Bullard, who served as Mayor of Springfield 1923-1926.
Clark was an enthusiastic and tireless supporter of a swirl of family activities, from Eileen’s Garden Club competitions, to dance and piano recitals, band rehearsals and Scout meetings. He remodeled the family home and built furniture for it. He imparted his love of travel during marathon car-camping trips laced with history and adventure and resulting in memorable slide shows. He was a devoted member of Blessed Sacrament parish.
Clark was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Roger S., and daughter Barbara. He is survived by his devoted wife Eileen and his admiring children Clark W. III (wife Irene) of Urbana, Robert K. (wife Shelley) of Oregon, Marcia L. (husband Tom McNamara) of Washington DC, Gary M. of Maryland, Suzanne M. Mansolilli (husband Paul) of Colorado and Carol E. of Champaign. He leaves 9 beloved grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, many loving nieces and nephews and friends.
Visitation: 1-4 pm, Sunday, December 30, 2012 at Staab Funeral Home.
Funeral Service: 10 am, Monday, December 31, 2012 at Blessed Sacrament Church with Reverend Richard Chiola officiating. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery where Sangamon County Interveterans will conduct military honors.
Memorial contributions may be made to Blessed Sacrament Church or to St. Joseph’s Home.