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Donald M. Clark, 88, a pioneer in industry-education cooperation

Feb. 11, 1929 – Jan. 22, 2018

Donald M. “Buck” Clark, who promoted job training for youth by bringing together business leaders and educators, had many careers of his own.

A pioneer in industry-education cooperation, at various times he was a corporate administrator, a high school and college teacher and administrator, a management trainer, a research director, a radio and television host and an Army officer.

He died Monday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a brief illness. He was 88.

Born in Buffalo, he graduated magna cum laude from Canisius College in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He was one of five college seniors from across the state who were chosen for a state political science internship program that led to a meeting with President Harry Truman in the White House in June 1950.

He went on to earn a master’s degree in history from Canisius College in 1952 and a doctorate in history and education from the University of Buffalo in 1961.

Mr. Clark was an underwriter for Travelers Insurance Co., then held an administrative position. In 1957, he began teaching American history and economics at Orchard Park High School.

He was an adjunct professor in education in the 1960s at Canisius College and Mount Carmel College in Niagara Falls, Ont.

He produced and hosted a 16-week course of business management on WNED-TV in 1964. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was host and commentator for two weekly radio programs, “Economic Viewpoint” on WADV-FM and “Reading Between the Lines” on WBEN.

He led management training sessions for banks, corporations and members of professional organizations.

Buffalo State College President Paul Bulger chose him in 1966 to establish the Center for Economic Education for Western New York and serve as its director.

He developed graduate school programs in economics for educators, provided curriculum assistance for local schools and led research projects on topics related to economic education.

Mr. Clark founded the Niagara Falls Industry-Education Council in 1970. Its work with Niagara Falls schools in staff development, curriculum revision and educational management became the model for a network of IECs across the state in the 1970s.

He was president emeritus of the National Association for Industry-Education Cooperation since 2005.  Named president and chief executive officer of the Buffalo-based NAIEC in 1979, he developed it into a leading advocate for collaboration between corporate and educational institutions at the local, state and national levels.

He helped organize Industry-Education Councils in 24 states and Canada to foster improvements in schools and a focus on educating students for careers.

For 25 years, he chaired a board of directors made up of prominent educators, business executives and government officials from the U.S., Canada and Great Britain.

He began a 35-year military career in 1948 by enlisting in the New York Army National Guard. In the 174th Infantry Regiment, he served as an infantry and armored officer.

Later, as an intelligence officer, he transferred to the Army Reserve in 1960 and served on the faculty of the Army Intelligence School in Fort Holabird, Md.

He graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College and served on the summer staff of the National War College in 1968 and 1969.

In 1970, he was assigned to the Army’s Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at the Pentagon as a specialist in Soviet military strategy and operations and unconventional warfare. As chief of the Western/Eastern European Division of the Directorate of Foreign Intelligence, he retired in 1983 with the rank of colonel.

He was listed in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in American Education” and received many honors from state, national and Canadian organizations. Canisius College presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Award for Career Achievement.

He was a member of the UB Community Advisory Council and the Military Officers Association of Western New York. He was past president of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo and an emeritus member of Phi Beta Kappa.

An Eggertsville resident, he had been a lector at St. Michael’s Catholic Church since 1976. He also performed as a pianist at various events.

He and his wife, the former Joan Marie Coyle, met at a dance and were married in 1958. They served as co-presidents of the Amherst Dance Club.

“I was the dancer,” she said. “He took it up and he loved it. We loved the rumba. He was good at it and so was I.”

Survivors also include two sons, Kevin M. and Michael J.; a daughter, Elizabeth Caputo; a sister, Alice L. Digiulio; and three grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, 1317 Eggert Road, Eggertsville.

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