Brother E. Clark Morrow
Brother E. Clark Morrow
In the Good Ole Days
by Clark Morrow
Extemporaneous talk given by E. Clark Morrow (Class of 1930) at the 80th Birthday Celebration of the Gamma Iota Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha.
I was raised on a farm in Harrison Township in Licking County, Ohio until 1924 when I told my parents I wanted to be a lawyer and would like to go to Denison University. They wanted me to attend Denison. They decided the only way they could send me would be to secure a house in Granville and have me live there while I attended the University. They immediately rented the farm and bought a house in Granville on East College Street which backed up to the Sigma Chi House, which was a large home located just east of the Granville Inn on East Broadway in Granville.
After my graduation from Granville High School, I proceeded to go home following the ceremony and noticed a car parked in front of our home. As I approached, two men got out of the car and introduced themselves as Ken Martin and Abe Martin from the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. They asked me to get in the car, they'd like to talk to me and so I did that and they proceeded to tell me that they had been investigating me and thought I would be a good member of their fraternity.
They then explained they were interested in having good, quality freshmen with good grades and persons that they thought would give credit to the fraternity and acquire considerable knowledge being a member of the group. They explained it would be much easier for me to get around the University with the knowledge that I was a pledge at the fraternity... [Continue Reading Full Transcript]
70 Years After Graduating, Morrow Still Active In Community
Denisonian Article - April 3, 2000
The Irma and Clark Morrow house rests on the back of Fraternity Row, remaining a cornerstone of the campus for over 30 years. In a similar fashion, E. Clark Morrow has remained a rock in Denison's foundation - a part of this campus for 73 years of his life. Read Full Denisonian Article
Eulogy By Dr. David Woodyard
January 25, 2007
For more decades than many of us can remember, it was "Clark and Irma"; we could hardly imagine one without the other. And for nearly 66 years we did not have to. Then one sad day many of us gathered in another Baptist Church to acknowledge that for a time it would be just "Clark." Today we gather to celebrate that once again we can say "Clark and Irma". While an earthbound journey has ended, an eternal one has begun. There was something indivisible about the two of them. And it wasn’t because they were a carbon copy of each other. There was something about Irma that was more urgent, even impetuous. When she told me she wanted the carpet at the Church fixed, I knew she meant yesterday. Clark was more deliberate and reflective. But his resolve was unambiguous when he spoke. The difference between them was evident on any cold rainy day when they watched Art play football. Underneath her gracious affect, grim determination to stick it out could not be missed. But Clark relished every moment of the day; his son was on the field. The remarkable thing about their relationship is that the two became one without becoming one of them. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that theirs was the perfect marriage. Have you ever witnessed more evidence of tenderness between a man and a woman? Did you ever notice how each said the other’s name – and how it chimed like a rare piece of crystal? Did you ever see a couple more engaged in each others interests and causes – without competing? Did you ever know two such fiercely independent persons who lived in a harmony that did not compromise or diminish the other? They were living embodiments of the words of Paul: "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right."
Now while we cannot think of Clark without his relationship to Irma, it is his life we celebrate today. I cannot resist saying there was something elegant about Clark Morrow. Some years ago a faculty member pointed to his sartorial splendor. It may have caught his eye because he had a bit of an apparel deficit! Yet, have you ever known a man who could put a suit, shirt, and tie together with such splendor? Just when you were feeling a bit tacky in his presence that wonderful smile would break loose and put you at ease. But the real elegance of Clark Morrow was his professional integrity. That really set him apart, especially in these disillusioning times. Here was a man who never shaded a truth in order to make a point. Here was a man who did not have moral compromise in his metabolism. Here was a man whose word was as good as his life. Clark was one who could make you feel proud of the human species. In the words of the Bible, "he walked in his integrity." And he did so without a note of self-righteousness or pride. What is so endearing is that with all this he never focused on the flaws of others.
It had to be because in the depths of his being he was a man of faith. We shared for many years a theology class. It was populated by a number of Denison intellectuals – Parker Lichenstein, Wally Chesman, John Kessler, Jim Martin, and Dan Fletcher among others. And no one of us understood the theologians more precisely than Clark. He epitomized for me a person of faith, one who held onto tradition even as he related it to the complexities and challenges of the age. Clark chuckled over the line from Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian liberation theologian, "Right leg; left leg; right arm, left arm; right ear, left ear; all parts of the same body – but the heart is a little to the left." Clark could embrace that because of the way Jesus defined himself in the temple, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed… ." Clark honored those who made sacrifices in far flung places; he admired missionaries. But what is important is that he found ways to be faithful to the compassion of Jesus in places of privilege and comfort. He never missed an opportunity to serve his God in some broken life. There are scores of "widows and orphans" he helped. Some would label that "pro bono" work. But it was not charity but discipleship for Clark.
Now reflection on Clark Morrow would not be complete without remembering his loyalty to Lambda Chi. Unlike so many of us, his was not a Greek addiction which clung desperately to the past. He revered the past and those with whom he shared it. But Clark relished the experience of the Chapter without trying to harness it to another day. Here was a man six times the age of the current Chapter members who could be present and among them as if a contemporary. I have never seen a 98 year old man so loved by a collection of 18 to 22 year olds. One of them said to me last week, "he was our rock." I have to say, he was the most malleable rock I have ever seen when he was with them. And nothing delighted him more than their academic achievements. In the years to come his several endowments will be a remembrance of that. The level of trust, of understanding, and appreciation penetrated the being of generations. And they weep with his family for he became part of theirs.
Now at the risk of intruding on the tender ties of his family, I have to end with one personal word. When a boy of eleven loses his father, he spends the rest of his life looking for another. Some decades ago I found one. His name was Clark; and I loved him.
A Tribute to Clark
By Evan Starr, High Alpha, 2007
I met Clark Morrow for the first time directly following my initiation into Lambda Chi Alpha in the Spring of 2004. He was at the initiation ceremony because he had not missed one since his own in 1926. After meeting Clark for the first time, I knew by his excited smile that he was a special man.
It is difficult to describe what Clark means to Lambda Chi Alpha without hearing from the thousands of brothers to whom he meant so much. In the 80 years since he was initiated, he touched each brother in a unique way. He was the Rock of the chapter, the foundation upon which it depended and rested. He was a beacon of strength that supported and inspired countless brothers in their life endeavors. He gave brothers perspective and encouragement in times of need. Most of all, it was as if he planted a seed in each brother that fostered growth and, above all else, brotherly love within the bond of Lambda Chi Alpha.
I was talking to Phyllis last night about Clark‘s involvement with the fraternity. She mentioned that Clark‘s unique ability to connect with younger generations actually helped him grow stronger in his later years. These words conjured vivid memories of past alumni Board meetings in my mind. Looking back, to an outsider, it may have looked funny as a group of 40 twenty year olds excitedly welcomed a hobbling 97 year old man into their house. And it may have looked even funnier as the group of 40 twenty year olds looked on with nervous smiles while the 97 year old man drove himself home. While Clark‘s connection with youthfulness helped keep him strong, we too have all grown stronger as individuals and as a brotherhood because of his love for and devotion to Lambda Chi. As one brother related, "It also speaks to the transcendent bond of our fraternity that knows no bounds, neither in life nor in death."
During a recent alumni meeting, I began to understand what Lambda Chi Alpha meant to Clark. When he first suffered from congestive heart failure this past fall, it was uncertain if he would make the October meeting. Talking to his daughter-in-law beforehand, I was concerned that his attendance at the meeting might aggravate his already fragile condition. She told me that it was more important that Clark do what was right for his soul than for his health. I did not understand what she meant until he showed up at the October meeting. Brother Skyler Mosenthal and I helped escort him into the Lambda Chi house - his house – for the last time. As we passed through the deck doorway into the warmth of the house, Clark stopped suddenly and his eyes swelled with tears. He hugged us both tightly and told us how happy he was to be back home. When we reached the chapter room, Clark began the meeting with an impassioned goodbye speech. As one brother put it, "He told us how he had been loved, and more importantly, that he deeply loved us. He said we should always remember to love each other because we are the ones who will always be there for each other."
The last line of the Lambda Chi Alpha creed reads, "May we have pure hearts that we may approach the ideal of perfect brotherly love." Brother Clark Morrow did more than approach that ideal – he exemplified it. He is an inspiration and a model for us to follow. He will be remembered for his dedication to Lambda Chi Alpha, his generosity, and his unwavering support. He was as a man who let his love for life and brotherhood guide his every action. Clark‘s impact on Lambda Chi Alpha will never be forgotten, and his legacy will continue to inspire others for years to come.