Skeeter Clark

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Skeeter Clark

Skeeter Clark, 62, passed away suddenly on June 26, 2012, at his home near Silver Lake, Ore.

Daniel Edwin Clark III, or "Skeeter' as he was more commonly known, was born on April 6, 1950, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Daniel and Gladys (Eckersell) Clark, Jr. When Skeeter was born, his father was working on the Railroad Ranch, which is now part of Harriman State Park. His grandfather,Daniel began managing the ranch in 1935, and spent the next 15 years there before turning the manager's position over to Skeeteršs father, who ran it through 1959. Skeeter was the youngest in the family, and grew up on the ranch with his siblings, Peggy and Jeff. He spent a great deal of his time starting horses and working with his father on the ranch.

Clark started school in a one-room schoolhouse at Island Park, Idaho, the only boy in his class, with 12 girls for classmates. He also attended grade school at Ashton, Idaho Falls, and in Oregon at Paisley and Lakeview. Skeeter graduated from high school at Dayton, Wyo., in 1969 and joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was shipped to Hawaii, where he worked at a nuclear weapons storage base. After a two-year tour, Skeeter returned to Barstow, Calif, where he worked in a repair unit for the Marine Corps for the duration of his hitch.

Anyone who met Skeeter knew that the joy of his life was his sons, Tommy, Lee and Clay. Skeeter and his family worked on many of the big ranches in the Great Basin area and some smaller ranches. Over the years, they made their home on the ZX Ranch; worked for Benny Binyon in Jordan, Mont.; then to Idaho at Rogerson; Simplot Livestock in Grand View; Owen Ranches in Bruneau; Castle Creek in Oreana; at the CCC for Jim Garrett; the Quarter Circle A in Arizona; the Diamond A in Paradise Valley, Nev.; as well as the Acres Land & Cattle Company of Alturas, Calif. It was while working for the ZX Ranch in 1982 that tragedy struck the Clark family when Skeeteršs oldest son, Tommy, drowned in the Cycan River. The loss was heavy and he and his wife later divorced. His sons moved to Chicago with their mother, and Skeeter remained in the west, working on various ranches. Several years later, his son Lee rejoined his father and Val Emery on the Spivey Ranch in Oreana. Skeeter remained in the area until after Lee, along with Val's son, Steve Emery, graduated from high school.

In December of 2001, after buckarooing for some of the better ranches in the Great Basin area for the majority of his life, Skeeter moved to Jordan Valley, Ore., where he hung out his shingle for the Stone House Saddle Shop. There he made and sold buckaroo gear, including hand-tooled saddles, chaps, chinks, headstalls, reins, and just about anything a cowboy would need to do his job. Skeeter also repaired gear, as well as custom designing and producing unique products for sale, such as his world famous hand-tooled door bells and one-of-a-kind redneck leather fly-swatters. The door to the Saddle Shop was always open, and the light was always on for business, or just to park a pick-up and goose-neck trailer long enough to chew the fat. For nearly a decade, the Stone House Saddle Shop was a local gathering place for ranchers and neighbors in the Jordan Valley area.

In January of 2010, Skeeter sold his saddle shop, packed his gear and moved around the country for the next few years. He enjoyed spending time with his son, Steve, in Nevada, as well as visiting the areas where he had lived and worked on the various ranches in rural Oregon.

More recently, Skeeter had settled in Silver Lake, Ore., where he enjoyed the rest of his life.

Skeeter was survived by: his lifelong friend, Val Emery; mother Gladys; brother Jeff; sister Peggy; three sons, Lee Clark (Christine) of Morgantown, Ky.; Clay Clark (Swan) of Vail, Ariz.; and Steve Emery (Diane) of Elko, Nev.; and nine grandchildren, Daniel, Kody, Kaleb, Dakota, Candace, Nathaniel, Seth, Creighton, and Krestrel.

Memorial services were held on July 3, 2012, at the Desert Rose Chapel in Lakeview, Ore.

The family suggests that donations in Skeeteršs memory may be given to the Jordan Valley Rodeo Board, c/o Secretary Dennis Stanford, Box 167, Jordan Valley, OR 97910; or to a favorite charity.