Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said in a standup routine that “according to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death…This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Well I have no fear today of speaking. I only have sorrow.
D. Craig Wark, Jr., age 82, of Stratham, New Hampshire died Sunday, July 29, 2012.
D. Craig Wark Jr. joined The Rotary Club of Winchester in 1970. He served as President of the club in 1976-1977. (The 50th Anniversary Year) Craig was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1982 and for the term 1982-1983 Craig served as the District Governor of District 793. (Later to become District 7930)
Craig would probably be embarrassed by my comments but they are heartfelt and true to a fault.
There have been a handful of Rotarians who have impressed and inspired me during my 38 years in this club. Craig Wark is on that list of distinguished and celebrated Winchester Rotarians. In my early years Craig was a mentor, a confidant, and to the end a friend. Craig was a role model who displayed passion, commitment, confidence, and selflessness all of the attributes and traits one would aspire to possess.
Notices of his passing will be in the news papers and will undoubtedly mention that he was a Rotarian, but that is not why he was a Rotarian.
Notice of his death will be made in the Rotarian magazine because he was a Past District Governor, but that is not why he was a Rotarian.
Craig was a Rotarian because he believed in Rotary and what it stood for.
- He believed in “Service Above Self”.
- He believed in sharing Rotary with others.
- He believed in maintaining high ethical standards in his business and in his personal life.
- He believed in “Fellowship” and the friendships that were born out his Rotary involvement.
- He believed in community service and the benefits that came to others through his efforts.
Perhaps William Wordsworth said it best:
“The best portion of a good man’s life
is the little, nameless, and unremembered acts
of kindness and love.”
Craig served the Rotary Club of Winchester with distinction; as a member, a director and as club president. It was during his tenure that the largest single grant in the history of this club was awarded to the Jenks Center in the amount of $15,000. His leadership style enabled him to employ diplomacy with confidence and skill to achieve a consensus that facilitated the progress of the request through the process of board approval and then the difficult chore of presenting the request to the membership for its consent. No easy task. This monumental effort underscored the leadership qualities that distinguished Craig.
The 50th Anniversary of the club was celebrated in grand fashion during Craig’s presidency and he spent untold extra hours to make the event a memorable occasion. There was the Group Study Exchange from Japan that required extra hours and the added commitment of escorting the entourage and hosting a dinner for the Exchange Group. Craig was also content to fulfill the mundane obligations and expectations of membership such as his “Barn” assignment; playing on the Club softball team even when sometimes it meant a late night drive back to Boxford; attending Rotary night at the Pops and Rotary night at the Red Sox or the Rotary fishing trips. He loved the Fellowship that Rotary afforded him. He was the consummate Rotarian.
Craig shared his expertise and drive with District 793 and he was humbled when asked to serve as its District Governor in 1982. I was lucky enough to grab onto his coattails when he asked me to serve as Chairman of the Spring Conference. I received some accolades when the Key Note dinner was attended by over a 1,000 Rotarians and guests but I never deluded myself into thinking that I was responsible for the turnout. Craig was a charismatic leader and like the Pied Piper people were drawn to him. His wit, charm and endearing personality blended with his business acumen and his capacity to lead made the text book Rotary President and District Governor.
Craig took the challenge of the “Four Way Test” and integrated the principles into his life. The words are easy to recite but much more difficult to live. The Test is the cornerstone of morality and ethics for Rotarians.
Craig’s life as a Rotarian, as a businessman and as a devoted husband, father and grandfather was guided by the principles of Truth, Fairness, Goodwill and Benefit as laid out in the “Four Way Test”.
I would like to conclude with words by Robert Louis Stevenson
“That Man is a Success”
That Man is a Success
Who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men
and the love of children;
Who has filled his niche
and accomplished his task;
Who leaves the world better than he found it,
whether by improved poppy, a perfect poem,
or a rescued soul;
Who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty
or failed to express it.
Who looked for the best in others
and gave the best he had.
Craig Wark has “given the best he had” and he is a “Success” by any measure.
August 16, 2012