Henry “Buddy” Watkins Clark, Jr., 82, of Salem, passed away unexpectedly at home, Thursday, November 25, 2021. Born on July 7, 1939, in Roanoke, Virginia, to the late Henry Watkins, Sr., and Catherine Richardson Clark, he was also preceded in death by his brother, John Clark, of Radford, Virginia.
An original “picker”, Buddy was a collector of unique and increasingly rare memorabilia from days gone by, such as Coca Cola collectables, old gasoline and fuel items, as well as other odds and ends one might have found in an old country store, and he enjoyed traveling to collectors’ trade shows. Buddy was a dedicated employee of General Electric, in Salem, for 38 years before his retirement, which allowed him more time to do things he enjoyed, such as RV camping and traveling. Buddy and Wiletta made lasting, lifelong friendships while camping. Always the storyteller, Buddy knew many tales and stories associated with Salem and the Roanoke Valley and greatly enjoyed sharing old family lore with friends and neighbors. Buddy was a friend and mentor to many and above all, a loving and devoted husband.
Those left to cherish his memory are his wife and the “love of his life”, Wiletta McLear Clark; step-children, Dana Van Buren, of Waynesboro, Brian McLear, of Stuarts Draft, and Tami Fitzgerald, of Staunton, as well as seven grandchildren who called him “PawPaw”; sister, Virginia (Ginny) Turner and husband, James, of Lexington; nieces and nephews, Cathy Tyner, of North Carolina, Jimmy Turner, of Lexington, Annie Turner Stone, of North Carolina, Kelly Williams, of Utah, Johnathan Clark, of Washington State, and Bethany Clark, of California; as well as nine great-nieces and nephews and many special friends.
The family will welcome friends to visit on Tuesday, November 30, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the chapel of John M. Oakey and Son Funeral Home. Services will be held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, at 11:00 in the funeral home chapel with interment immediately following at East Hill Cemetery. Chaplain Roy Kanode will be officiating.
The family would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to special friends, Jerry Brinkley and Debbie Houser, for the compassionate love and care given during this difficult time.