An aerial view of the new William A. Clark field.

An aerial view of the new William A. Clark field.

Lincoln Academy’s annual Homecoming celebration — this year the weekend of Saturday, September 26 — again features a number of events for students, staff, and community members to enjoy, and a number of fall sports competitions on Academy Hill. Between the girls’ and boys’ soccer games that day, LA will also dedicate the state-of-the-art turf playing surface that was completed just before the opening of the new school year.

The turf field, made possible by an anonymous community gift, will be named in memory of William A. Clark II of the Lincoln Academy Class of 1960, who passed away in 2013. It is appropriate that a facility that will do much to bring members of the school and local populations together will be named for a man who spent his life working tirelessly to rally his community to achieve great things.

Bill Clark was in his own right an outstanding student-athlete. In his career at Lincoln Academy he was a pitcher for the Lincoln Nine, a standout on the basketball team, and a record-holding discus thrower who helped lead the Eagles’ 1959 state champion track & field team.

A beloved figure in Damariscotta, Clark was later the ubiquitous proprietor of Clark’s Spa in the building now occupied by King Eider’s Pub. While he was well-known from his place in the family business, his legacy in the local community may be found in his work on behalf of its children and families. Clark in the 1970s helped establish and lead the Damariscotta Area Recreation Alliance (DARA) and the Central Lincoln County (CLC) Recreation Center, out of which grew the present CLC YMCA. Clark’s dedication to this project had a profound and lasting effect on the community and countless residents who continue to benefit from the facilities and organization he helped create.

These lessons in civic involvement were clearly not lost on Clark’s son, Bill Clark III. Now in its seventh year, the younger Clark was integral in creating the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest. Bringing upwards of 15,000 visitors to town on Columbus Day Weekend, the festival has been a boon for local businesses. “I see this as following in my father’s footsteps,” says Clark. “Pumpkinfest has turned out to be a great event for the town and the merchants, and it’s gotten good coverage for the community in the press also.” Much like his father’s organizing four decades ago, Clark’s work on this community project is a full-time job in itself… so much so that he’s rarely able to take in the weekend’s festivities. “I hear it’s pretty cool, though,” he quips.

The dedication of the turf field in memory of Bill Clark ’60 is an honor for the family, and a well-deserved memorial to a giant in the local community. Clark notes that “Mom and I have wondered what dad would have thought of all this, and he probably would have been embarrassed by all the attention. That’s just who he was. But in the end, we’re very proud and I know he would have been, also. Our family is still in disbelief a little bit, but dad would have been happy and he’d really enjoy seeing that facility. This new field is first-rate, and one-of-a-kind in the area.”

First-rate, and one-of-a kind. A fitting memorial, indeed.

The community is invited to take part in all of Lincoln Academy’s Homecoming fun during the weekend of September 25-27; the weekend schedule can be found hereThe William A. Clark ’60 turf field dedication will be held between the girls’ and boys’ varsity soccer games at approximately 6:30 pm, on Saturday, September 26.