Colleagues remember Rep. Greg Clark who was struck and killed by a car on Friday morning

Greg Clark. Photo courtesy of Secretary of State

Greg Clark. Photo courtesy of Secretary of State

Greg Clark, an Addison County representative, died in an accident this morning.

Clark was struck by a vehicle on U.S. 7 in Waltham shortly before 8 a.m., after stepping out of his car to scrape his windshield, according to the Burlington Free Press. The Addison Independent first reported the news.

His fellow lawmakers remember Clark as a legislator who was deeply invested in the state’s education system. He also had a biting, Yankee sense of humor that was especially appreciated amid the most heated floor debates.

Clark, a Republican, was ready to enter his fifth term in the House. He was born July 19, 1947, and resided in Vergennes for the entirety of his life. He received a bachelor’s degree from Johnson State College and served, in the past, as a deputy mayor and a city councilman in Vergennes. Clark was a member of the Congregational Church of Vergennes, the Dorchester Masonic Lodge #1, and the Addison County Eagles Club.

In addition to serving in the Legislature, Clark taught social studies at Mount Abraham Union High School. “I know that he was very highly esteemed by his students,” said Rep. Duncan Kilmarten.

According to the Vermont State Police, Clark was traveling south on US Route 7 when he stopped his car near Woodman Hill to clear his windshield. Todd Garthaffner, a 41-year-old Addison resident, pulled off the road ahead of him and recommended that Clark move his car off the road because visibility was poor.

Clark had repositioned his car partially onto the shoulder of the road and resumed clearing the windshield when Rolf Trinkner, age 74 of Ferrisburgh, struck Clark while driving southbound in a 2003 Honda Civic.

Vergennes Police Department, Vergennes Fire and Rescue, and Agency of Transportation responded to the scene. CPR was administered to Clark, who was “critically injured” at the time. He was pronounced dead at Porter Hospital.

Garthaffner sustained minor injuries in the crash; Trinkner was not hurt. Vermont State Police are still investigating the crash.

Kilmarten, who served with Clark on the House Education Committee, added, “I considered him a good friend and a man who is very much committed to the welfare of the people… He will be missed, especially his humor, which he used adroitly to diffuse difficult situations, but also to heap coals of fire on fools.”

Minority Leader Don Turner remembers Clark as both a key member of the caucus and a lawmaker who was devoted to education. “He was deeply invested in Vermont’s children and their education and he worked hard to enhance Vermont’s education system.” Turner said he would miss the comic relief Clark brought to the floor. “He had an ability to take serious issues during very intense debates on the floor, and be able to inject some humor to lighten it up a little bit.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin released the following statement mourning Clark’s death.

“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing this morning of Rep. Greg Clark, and my heart goes out to his wife, Eileen, and their children. Greg always put the needs of his constituents first in his State House work, and was committed to improving schools for Vermont’s children as a teacher and member of the House Education Committee. More than anything, I will miss Greg’s smile, his sense of humor and his friendship at the State House.”

Speaker of the House Shap Smith also issued a statement.

“Greg’s passion was working with young Vermonters to ensure that they had a better life,” Smith said. “He brought that passion with him to the legislature and was an extremely effective advocate for young people.”

Jake Perkinson, chair of the Vermont Democratic Party released a statement as well, remembering Clark as “a jubilant and thoughtful leader who brought dedication every day to his work in the House Education Committee.”

Clark is survived by his wife, Eileen, who works at the Vergennes High School, and by a son and a daughter.

Here is a video clip of Clark from 2010.

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Alicia Freese

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  • Scott Allen

    Mr. Clark, you will always be remembered by your former students. You touched so many of us in different ways. We have been remembering you all day today. RIP Mr. Clark! Prayers to you and your family.

  • walter carpenter

    What a shame, what an awful shame.

  • Aliza Rudinski

    Greg Clark was a one of a kind human being. His genuine interest in and care for every one of his students and colleagues separated him from the pack. I will always remember his hugs and his unbeatable sense of humor. It’s hard to find teachers like him in this day and age. He was a fountain of knowledge, wisdom and compassion. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and everyone affected by his death..which quite honestly is an enormous part of Vermont. I also feel for the Mt. Abraham community, as they have lost an irreplaceable educator who impacted countless lives and shaped countless minds over the years.

    May peace be with you, Clarky.

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