Ernest Clark was born in Spokane, Washington, on July 25, 1924, to parents James Hershel and Beulah Jane Clark. Residency was taken up in Texas in 1935, where he continues to reside.
Ernest attended public schools in Jacksonville and Rusk where he graduated from high school in the spring of 1942. It was during that time of living in Rusk that his life long hobby of instrument repair actually started. Having played clarinet for three months in the seventh grade as a beginner, he disassembled his horn, much to the dismay of his mother who said, “One of these days you will take something apart and not be able to put it back together.” “I just never had the heart to tell her how many times that happened,” Ernest says.
In the summer of 1942, Ernest enrolled in then Sam Houston State Teachers College, and after three years, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in music.
His first band directing job in 1945 was at Katy, Texas. The town, at that time, consisted of a rice dryer, a feed store, a cafe, a filling station that doubled as a Chevrolet garage, a post office and the school, which had an enrollment of maybe 300 students from first through eleventh grades. Most all of these students were bussed in from outlying territories. For this position, Ernest was paid an enormous salary of $181.00 per month.
From Katy, Ernest moved to the much larger school district of La Grange, where he directed bands for eight years. While teaching in La Grange, he was married to Georgia Osthoff.
He directed bands in Luling for the next two years. In 1957, then Supervisor of Music, Bryan Cooney, asked Ernest to move to Freeport to become a part of the Brazosport Independent School District Music Department. In 1958, he earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Texas. He and his family have resided in the Brazosport area for the last 43 years.
Ernest has had a long line of very successful bands and also has taught many successful individuals who are now quite active in the music field. They include Bob Wazel, Scot Wazel, Greg Dick, Wade McDonald, Bill Watson, Joe Tichacek and Les Stallings. Ernest was also active in contest judging over the State.
Organizations of which he was or now is a member include a lifetime member of Kappa Kappa Psi (Sam Houston State); Lions Club; Director of Church Choirs in La Grange, Freeport and Lake Jackson; American School Band Directors Association; Texas Music Educators Association, National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians; National Association of Music Instrument Technicians; and member of the Brazosport Community Band since 1957.
Ernest has many hobbies, among which include musical instrument repair. After 41 years of directing bands in Texas public schools, this hobby became full-time upon his retirement in 1986. Other interests include woodworking, hunting and fishing. His greatest love is for his wife, Georgia, daughter Pamela, son Jeffrey, and three granddaughters, Stephanie, Tiffanie and Bethanie.
Ernest extends many thanks to all of the associates with whom he worked during his teaching career and to all the wonderful students who helped to make this honor possible. God bless all of you.