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JAN. 27, 1945 -- APRIL 17, 2005

Ronald J. Clark, a retired Buffalo police officer who received several honors in his career, died Sunday in Buffalo General Hospital after an unexpected illness. He was 60.

Mr. Clark, a lifelong resident of Buffalo, grew up in the city's Riverside section.

After graduating from Riverside High School, he became a police cadet in 1963 and a patrolman in 1966.

As a rookie officer in 1966, Mr. Clark stopped a burglary while taking a walk on his lunch break.

In 1977, he received a commendation bar for resuscitating an 8-month-old girl as he rushed her to the hospital.

In 1980, he was named Hero of the Year by the 100 Club of Buffalo for his actions during a shootout with burglary suspects on Tillinghast Place in North Buffalo.

While working in North Buffalo, Mr. Clark went undercover, living as a homeless person next to train tracks to catch a child molester who was targeting schoolchildren.

Mr. Clark later started the "Stranger Danger" safety program for children, making presentations in schools.

"He was, without a doubt, the life of the party," said his son Ronald J. Jr. of Grand Island, who also is a Buffalo police officer.

His wife, Sharon Williams Clark, died in 1997.

Surviving, in addition to his son Ronald, are two other sons, Steven D. of the Town of Tonawanda and William D. of Buffalo; three daughters, Michele Wittcop of Buffalo, Danielle Biscotto of Depew and Nicole Benjamin of Grand Island; and 12 grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:15 a.m. Thursday in St. Paul's Catholic Church, Delaware Avenue and Victoria Boulevard, Kenmore, after prayers at 8:30 in Carlton A. Ullrich Funeral Home, 855 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda. Burial will be private.