John Rufus Clark (“Johnny”), 72, of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, passed away at his home on Friday, November 11, 2022, from a heart attack. He was a big-spirited gift for those who knew him, and we will miss him always.
Born on August 23, 1950 in Charleston, South Carolina, Johnny moved to the panhandle of Florida as a teen and graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach while working at W.T. Grant’s. He was known to be rebellious during those teenage years (and beyond), so imagine the surprise when he volunteered for the United States Air Force in 1969. Immediately following enlistment, Johnny did three tours in the Vietnam conflict at Udorn Air Force Base, Thailand as an air traffic controller and radar specialist; where he also developed a lifelong love of the Thai people and their food – the hotter the better! During his tenure in the Air Force, Johnny and his family traveled extensively – from Fairbanks, Alaska and Panama City, Florida to Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Langley AFB. He retired honorably after twenty years of service and continued building Apus, Inc., a real estate development company. Later in life, he was also owner and operator of a concierge home repair company.
Indeed, Johnny was blessed with a large and loving family. Growing up, he had ten brothers and sisters! As a young man, he was married to Linda Holland in 1972, and they were together over eighteen years, remaining friends through the end of his life. During their marriage, they were blessed with two wonderful children to whom he was entirely dedicated, and later three grandchildren.
Second, only to his family and friends, Johnny loved music, and he was a guitarist; crooning along to his favorites – The Animals, Simon & Garfunkel, The Statler Brothers, Jeff Buckley, and even Kid Rock. Like most music lovers, he couldn't help but to sing or dance – whether that was to Meghan Trainor, Alan Jackson, or The Everly Brothers. And wow, he did dance! Well known as a friendly and fair man, John was also a bit of joker. He loved cutting up with friends and neighbors, rarely turning down an invite to a dinner, drink, or dance floor. He was also a technophile and loved high-end gadgets, computers, and games.
A beach lover and avid runner, John spent many years skim boarding, swimming, and running alongside the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, John was a lifelong seeker who loved meeting new people and considering new ideas. Johnny had a relationship with God, but he was also open to hearing others’ beliefs. He was known to invite missionaries of various faiths in to discuss spiritual matters – from Mennonites to Jehovah’s Witness' to Mormons; treating each other with respect and dignity was a basic tenet of belief which he lived, explaining “Everybody’s just doin’ life”.
Johnny was predeceased by his grandparents and parents, Dorothy Kennedy Simmons and Junior Clark, as well as two siblings: Bruce Floyd and Cynthia Tutweiler. He is survived by his children: daughter, Amber Lee Clark and son, John Travis Clark (wife, Laura); his three grandchildren, Autumn Clark, Mckinlee Clark, and Cameron Miller; his siblings, Roger Clark, Nancy Morgan, Denise Downs, Pamela Donato, Colin Clark, Rhonda Hewitt, Michael Floyd, and Russell Floyd; as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins; too numerous to name, but loved and remembered. He is also survived by the Queen of All Hearts, Gidgit, his beloved miniature schnauzer, with whom he was entirely smitten these past five years.
The family would like to thank Claudette Taylor, Willie Garodnick, Donna and Jerry Daniels, as well as, Michelle and Don Egan for their special friendships and care of John.
It was John’s wish to be cremated, and then celebrated around the Gulf. He loved warm weather and water; therefore, a Celebration of Life Memorial will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023, with details to follow. If you are not already in touch with the family, please contact Amber Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Military Veterans Advocacy https://www.militaryveteransadvocacy.org/