The Reverend Charles Halsey "Kelly" Clark, a kind and gentle man, respected leader, Episcopal priest, theological educator, beloved husband of Priscilla Hannah Clark, and father to five children, died in Exeter, N.H., on March 11, 2019. He was 92.
Born on December 2, 1926, in New York City, Kelly was the son of Martha Keck Clark and Alfred Marling Clark. He grew up in Coronado, Calif., attending the Francis Parker School in San Diego and the Thacher School in Ojai.
In 1944, Kelly enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps V12 program at UCLA, later graduating in 1948 from Yale. He earned his M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1951 and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of New York in December of 1952.
In 1953, Kelly married Priscilla, another native Californian and student at the Yale Divinity School. With Priscilla and her daughter, Pamela, the couple began a wonderful 66-year partnership. From 1953 to 1957, Kelly served as assistant chaplain at Yale, lecturer in Old and New Testaments, and director of Yale's International Student Center. During that time, he received an M.A. from Yale in Old Testament studies in 1956
For 20 years, from 1957 to 1977, Kelly worked for the Overseas Department of the Episcopal Church, living from 1957 to 1967 in Singapore, where he served as canon at St. Andrew's Anglican Cathedral, as a faculty member of Trinity Theological College, and as Warden of St. Peter's Hall. He spent an additional 10 years as the dean of St. Andrew's Theological Seminary and dean of Trinity College, Quezon City, Philippines, where he co-founded the South East Asia Institute of Music and Liturgy.
Kelly returned to the U.S. in 1977 to become dean of Berkeley Divinity School and an associate dean of the Yale Divinity School. In 1982, Kelly and Priscilla moved to Concord, N.H., where, as the Ninth Rector of St. Paul's School, Kelly led 10 happy, fulfilling years among the School's students, faculty, and families.
Upon his "retirement," Kelly served as interim rector at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, New York City, and then as vicar of St. John the Evangelist in Dunbarton, N.H. In 2010, Kelly and Priscilla moved to the Riverwoods Retirement Community in Exeter, N.H.
Throughout his life, Kelly received several honorary degrees and served on the boards of schools and organizations, including the Thacher School, the White Mountain School, the Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia, the Yale in China Program and as chairman of the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Kelly was a champion tennis player and a great horseman, including playing on the Singapore polo team.
Kelly was a gentle, kind, and beloved human being, always gracious, a true teacher, an elegant athlete, a devoted priest, and missionary of the Gospel. He had a great sense of humor. He loved his family and friends, dogs, horses, tennis, poetry, music, acting, dancing, and the beach. He was devoted to following God's call wherever that led him, faithfully pastoring all the communities under his care.
Kelly is survived by his wife, Priscilla; four children, Martha, Nathaniel, Mary, and Anne; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Pamela.
A Requiem Eucharist will be held on Friday, May 3, at 1:30 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Paul's School, Concord, N.H. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Victory Programs (Boston, Mass.) and to the Advanced Studies Program at St. Paul's School.
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