Willard G. “Bill” Clark, founder of the Clark Center for Japanese Art at Hanford in Central California passed away on Nov. 22, 2015 on his ranch where he lived for all his 85 years.
Mr. Clark who was the fifth generation of rancher had turned to be export-businessman. He loved Japanese art and his canny eye for purchasing priceless objects turned him into a world-renowned collector.
Mr. Clark graduated from Hanford High School, the University of California, Davis and Harvard Business School.
He served in the U.S Naval Air Force for four years and from 1958, he managed the family ranching and dairy operation that eventually had turned on of the top Holstein herds in the U.S.
Mr. Clark originated World Wide Sires, Inc., and developed it into the world’s largest broker of frozen bull semen for artificial insemination, with distributors in 66 countries, including Japan.
On Dec. 5, 1991, the Japanese government awarded him with the Order of the Rising Sun with Rosettes and Golden Rays, Fourth Level, in recognition for his dedication to promotion of better relations between Japan and the U.S.
In 1995, Mr. and Mrs. Clark established the Institute for Japanese Art, a private foundation, to assemble a collection of Japanese art and sponsor programs and educational opportunities.
On May 22, 2009, the Japanese government awarded him with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in recognition for his accomplishments in contributing to the introduction of Japanese Art and towards the promotion of cultural and educational exchange between Japan and the U.S.
Mr. Clark has been very active beyond the operations of the Clark Center, serving on various committees and boards for the prominent museums in the U.S and other Japanese related organizations.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (“Libby”), two sons and daughter, and their children. A Memorial Service will be held in the Spring.