Obituary: William Harry Clark III
Beloved husband, son, brother, friend, Gulf and Iraqi War veteran
William Clark III was born on November 26, 1967 to Cynthia and William H. Clark II in Covina, California. The Gulf and Iraqi War veteran died September 4 after a brief illness.
Known as “Will” and “Billy” to his friends and family, he graduated from Edgewood High School in West Covina. Upon graduation he joined the U.S. Navy, serving four years as a seaman during the Gulf War in Iraqi Operation Freedom before being honorably discharged.
He met the love of his life, Nellie Lobo, an Arbol Verde native and the first grandchild of 89 year-old Arbol Verde matriarch and elder Nellie Villanueva. They were married November 24, 2001 at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Claremont.
“A true warrior patriot, Will reenlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard after the 9/11/01 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York,” his family shared.
He was activated and deployed to Iraq from 2005 to 2006, where he served combat missions and as a correctional officer, guarding Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees at Camp Bucca prison. After the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, many detainees from that facility were transferred to Bucca, where U.S. authorities hoped to showcase a model detention facility.
“Housing many of the leadership of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Bucca became a training ground for Islamic extremism, and contributed to the emergence of the ISIS in the Middle East,” his family said. “Will Clark served the majority of his tour during the Iraq War at Camp Bucca. He treated the Islamic terrorist detainees with dignity and respect, and did not employ any torture or dehumanization methods on the prisoners.”
He returned to the United States in 2007, where he was reunited with his wife Nellie and their cats.
Like many Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans, Clark suffered from the unintended consequences of war, returning with post-traumatic stress disorder and hearing loss. After serving 13 years in the military, he retired and was honorably discharged, achieving the final rank of Sergeant E-5.
In between his stints in the navy and after his deployment to Iraq, he worked as a security officer and was studying for a career in electrical apprenticeship.
He enjoyed spending time with his beloved cats, especially Shadow, who died in 2015. He also enjoyed playing airsoft with Max Edens, his brother-in-law and close friend. He was a soccer enthusiast, a cross country runner, an accomplished chess player and bicycle rider.
“A true introvert, he walked with integrity, humility and beauty,” his family said. “During family gatherings, Will would never brag about nor verbalize the horrors of war. As a real servant leader, he put his wife, family, Jesus Christ, and his country before himself.”
Clark was living in Rialto with his wife Nellie and his beloved cats Tori and Shelley at the time of his death. They lived in the historic Arbol Verde neighborhood from 2010 through 2019.
He was preceded in death by his sister Tiffany Claxton and his favorite cat, Shadow.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 20 years, Nellie Lobo-Clark; parents Cynthia and Will Clark Jr.; sisters Juliana Teran and Cortney Gonzales; as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and close in-laws.
A public viewing will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 4 at Todd Memorial Chapel, 325 N Indian Hill Blvd, Claremont. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 435 N Berkeley Ave., Claremont at 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 5. A 1:45 p.m. interment will follow at Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, CA 92518.