BYU Laboratory Elementary School

Welsford H. "Gus" Clark

Extraordinary Teacher and Teacher of Teachers

Click to enlarge - Gus Clark & BYH Class of 1967
Gus Clark and one of his 6th Grade classes

By James W. Petty, BYH Class of 1966

Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children spoken of in Malachi 4 has meaning beyond genealogy and family history. Each of us during our lifetime has the opportunity to influence the lives and experiences of other people as our hearts turn to those we serve.

A little book

Near my desk where I write and compose my thoughts for articles and work, I have a small book by James Allen, entitled As A Man Thinketh. This is a treatise addressing the topic “what a person is in life is determined by how he chooses to think”.

It was given to me by my 6th grade school teacher, Welsford H. “Gus” Clark, on the day I graduated from BYU Laboratory Elementary School.

On the fly-leaf of the volume he penned the words:
If I supply you a thought you may remember it and you may not. But if I can make you think a thought for yourself, I have indeed added to your stature. With Love, Mr. Clark, 27 May 1960.
I turn to this little book often because it reminds me that I am the master of my heart and my life. This gift from my beloved teacher has in turn, led me to have an interest in finding other such writings that fill my heart and mind with uplifting thoughts that I can share in my daily walk.

A few of these that I have committed to memory and share with others whenever the opportunity arises include:

Facing Each Day
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too; …If you can fill the unforgiving minute, With sixty seconds' worth of distance run; Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!” (Rudyard Kipling, If – For Boys)

“…We believe all things; We hope all things; We have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, We Seek After These Things!” (Author’s emphasis), (Joseph Smith, Articles of Faith, Article 13)

“…I will greet each day with love in my heart. And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I Love You. Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes; unwrinkle my brow; bring a smile to my lips; and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened. And who is there who will say nay to my goods when his heart feels my love. I will greet each day with love in my heart.” (Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman In The World, pp. 65-66.)

“My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." (General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson when asked how he could remain so calm in the height of battle.)
With such sentiments in my heart and my mind, I can face each day with its trials and tribulations, with hope, happiness, and optimism.

Thoughts of Gus

Brother Gus Clark did more than just supply me with a thought. He taught me by example to use my imagination, to explore and to express my own thoughts.

To us eleven and twelve year olds, Gus was a giant of a man. He was with us throughout each day and served as father and mother, as well as our teacher.

Not only tall of stature, Gus was a person we genuinely looked up to. He wasn’t above leading us in our games and activities. I well remember following him into a dark pool of creek water to catch toads, bugs, and pollywogs for a class science project.

Gus instructed us and counseled us when we had problems; he pulled teeth with his pliers, and used his yardstick to reach the disobedient. He was strict, but a sweet cheerful teacher who openly expressed his love to his students. He led out with kindness, and respected us as his kids.

As I grew up over the years, Mr. Clark remained a part of my life. I saw him often, and he was always interested in me and my progress. As my youthful interests turned to art and history, he visited and took me on field trips to share his activities in studying and remodeling historic homes and buildings in various places in Utah.

Even after I had matured and had a family of my own, Gus blessed my life as he was able to reach out to one of my sons, as a member of his Philippine Mission Presidency, to encourage my boy to be the best he could be.

Gus Clark, without being our actual father, was an example of a father turning his heart to the children.

I thank my Heavenly Father that such a man existed in my life, and I hope I am able to pass that example on to others who come into mine. Thanks for the thoughts, Gus.

As this article was going to print, I learned that Mr. Clark was celebrating his 80th birthday, a date he shares with Stonewall Jackson. I gave him a call and was able to greet him on this special occasion. Gus, you are in my thoughts.

Published in Meridian Magazine, Wednesday, February 1, 2012.

James W. Petty, AG, CG, BYH Class of 1966, was a Board-Certified and Accredited Professional Genealogist, “Climbing the Family Tree Professionally Since 1969”. He was President of HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy, Inc. More at -- his genealogy blog is located at

Welsford H.

Welsford H. "Gus" Clark

Welsford Hone "Gus" Clark was one of six sons born to Herald R. Clark and Mabel Hone Clark, born on January 21st, 1932 in Provo, Utah. The Clark family lived in Provo where it provided a great deal of service to the community and beyond.

His five brothers include: Richard Hone Clark (1916-1985), Dr. Stephen Hone Clark (1919-1987), Homer Hone Clark (1921-2010), Rand Hone Clark (1925-2007), and Dr. Phillip Hone Clark.

His education included: B.S. BYU 1956, and M.Ed. BYU, 1962. He taught 5th and 6th Grade in the BYU Laboratory Elementary School for a number of years. Gus married Delaine Anderson, and they resided in Orem, Utah.

His passion for teaching children and for teaching those who taught children was extraordinary. Besides teaching at the university, Gus also taught fifth and sixth grades at the Brigham Young Elementary Training School at various times during his career.

Selected Quotes from Gus Clark
Professor Emeritus of Education
McKay School of Education, Brigham Young University

  • "The best teacher makes learning easy."

  • "Learning begins with perception and develops into concepts that can lead to the understanding of the whole universe."

  • "Math is a wonderful subject, not to be feared, and through its principles this world was probably created. In mathematics the understanding of WHY is just as important as the process of computation."

  • "Truth and light center in God. Without the inclusion of Him, there will still be shadows in our thinking."

  • "Half of the planning is done when a concept is stated conceptually."

  • "The best question always elicits the best answer."

  • "Having a sense of humor is a necessity in teaching; used wisely, it becomes an asset."

  • "Very few people come up with an original idea or concept, but if a person does discover something he should give it away quickly so that all may benefit."

  • "Only two things go with you into the next life--what you know and other people. Everything else here is secondary."

  • "Teachers need to go back to the classroom occasionally."

  • "Children get more out of a reading assignment when the teacher precedes the lesson with background information and follows it with a discussion."

  • "Teachers must read what the child reads."

  • "Each new horizon that is exposed to us comes to us as an individual, from within."

  • "Knowing the books and knowing the skills gives us the power to enrich and motivate children. But knowing the child--his needs, his aspirations--empowers us to bring the learning and the child to one unity, and that is the purpose of a teacher."

  • "Parents are the most influential teachers. Teachers who successfully involve parents in their children’s schoolwork are successful because they work at it."


  • Welsford H. "Gus" Clark

    My Most Memorable Teacher

    Welsford "Gus" Clark was my most memorable professor. I have had many teachers, having received three bachelor’s degrees, a master's degree, and a doctorate of pharmacy.

    Gus was my undergraduate professor of elementary education. No other professor since those long-ago days in the 1970s at BYU has measured to the stature of what Gus did.

    Indeed, Gus was not a PhD of academia. However, I submit he was a doctor of love and caring for his students. His example has been a guide to all his students for the 30-plus years he dedicated to BYU. He has been a friend, confidant, and counselor to all his students.

    There is not a day goes by that I don't recall his wonderful example as a teacher, the magic in children’s literature class, the rigors and feelings of accomplishment during student teaching, the fun trips to Gus’ historical home in Moroni.

    I am sure there are many thousands of students who share the same experience of having the privilege of rubbing shoulders with such a great man as Gus.

    I have knowledge which I am sure some students may not be aware of. Gus and his wonderful wife Delaine have financially supported both students and missionaries over the years. Where there was a need they found out, helped and by doing so have helped so many, myself included!

    —Andrew S. Earle, BYU ’76, Henderson, Nevada

    In Memoriam ~ Welsford H. "Gus" Clark

    Gus was born on January 21st, 1932 in Provo, Utah to Herald Ray and Mable Hone Clark.

    He was sealed to his eternal companion Delaine Anderson on August 16th, 1955 in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints. Together they raised four children: Chris, Lee, Suzanne, and Rachel.

    Gus was a professor of elementary education at Brigham Young University for 38 years, retiring in 1994. His passion for teaching children and those who taught them was unmatched.

    Besides teaching at the university, Gus also taught fifth and sixth grades at various times during his career and was influential in many of his students' lives outside of the normal teacher-student relationship. Many of his young students remained life-long friends. He was always willing to help them with advice and counsel with them in time of need.

    After his retirement, Gus and Delaine served missions at the MTC in Provo, the Philippines, Thailand, and Roosevelt, Utah. Gus was a life-long missionary exemplifying the Savior in the way he approached everyone he met. He was always seeking ways to help others grow in life. He was an influence for good in all whom he came in contact with.

    He was especially loved by his grandchildren and spent many summer nights with them at his cabin near Aspen Grove or at his historical home in Moroni, Utah.

    Gus enjoyed classic music, fine art, reading and maybe the "occasional" visit to D.I. to collect many of his hidden treasures.

    Welsford Hone "Gus" Clark passed from his earthly mission on February 5th, 2013.

    Gus is survived by his wife of 57 years, Delaine Clark of Orem, their children Chris (Kelly) Clark of Lindon, Lee (Jeana) Clark of Orem, Suzanne (Walter) Kelly of Las Vegas, and Rachel (Mitch) Oviatt of Orem; He is also survived by 14 grand-children and 25 great-grand-children; Brother Philip (Ruth) Clark of Holladay.

    He was preceded in death by his parents and four older brothers: Richard, Stephen, Homer, and Rand Clark.
    Funeral services were held Thursday, February 14, 2013, in the Cherry Hill Stake Center, Orem, Utah. Interment, Provo City Cemetery.

    In his memory, the family requests that you purchase a children's book and spend precious time reading it to a child.

    Deseret News, February 9, 2013

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