Perry Clark loved to make art – large murals, signs for stores, custom pieces for cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Perry Clark’s family members say he was a gentleman and scholar who had a lifelong passion for art. Obituary photo

In the studio he created in the garage of his Buxton home, he always had a project in progress.

He loved color, all colors, and he looked so excited when he felt that he’d gotten an image just right, said his son, Bryce Clark of Portland.

“He was a perfectionist,” said Bryce Clark, 31. “When he brought something to life, it brought him to life. You could see it in his eyes.”

Clark loved life. But he was also strong-willed, stubborn and fearless, and he didn’t see the need to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Clark died Jan. 9 from complications of COVID-19. He was 61. He had spent 47 days in the hospital.


On the day he died, his son penned a poignant tribute to his “hero.” Bryce Clark said later that he felt compelled to write the Facebook post as an appeal to unvaccinated Mainers who doubt the severity of COVID-19.

He posted a photo of his father in a hospital bed, on a ventilator, surrounded by his family. He described how the family crisis took over Thanksgiving and Christmas. He said he had tried to convince his father to get vaccinated to protect his life.

Perry Clark shows a mural he painted in the entryway of a private home. Courtesy of the Clark family

“We all make decisions in life, and I respect yours as much as I respected my father’s,” Bryce Clark wrote. “There were dinners I felt I had ruined trying to convince him to change his mind and conversations that had to be shelved because unconditional love for another sometimes means agreeing to disagree about issues in the sake of not wanting to spoil a special occasion. Sometimes that love means biting your tongue when you want to scream.”

Perry Clark was in the hospital for 47 days before his death from COVID-19 on Jan. 9. He was intubated, on a ventilator. Courtesy of the Clark family

Clark’s family members say he was a gentleman and scholar who had a lifelong passion for art. A native of California, he graduated from Fresno State College with a degree in industrial design and a minor in metallurgy. He was a successful sign writer, mural painter and crafter of silver jewelry.

In California, according to his obituary, he was best known for painting messages on giant water towers in the fruit groves to announce birthdays, weddings and events. In Maine, he produced large pieces of art for homes and businesses – a billowing American flag on the side of Plummer’s Shop’n Save in Buxton; a pizza, steak-and-cheese sub, muffin and coffee cup on a Low’s Variety truck in Bar Mills.

Clark won awards for his automotive and motorcycle designs, his son said. He might put an angel on a motorcycle gas tank; shooting flames on a pickup truck; an owl’s head on the hood of a car. He was always excited to peel off the paint tape to reveal his art and see his proud reflection staring back at him, his son said.


“Every time he painted something, you could hear him say, `Wicked,’” his son said. “Wicked was one of his favorite words.”

Clark loved to try new things, and he had dreamed up an installation to display his art with motion and texture. He sketched out the design in 25 pages and was so excited about it before he got sick. It saddened his son that his father would never get the chance to see it through.

Perry Clark painted the American flag mural on the side of Plummer’s Shop’n’Save in Buxton. It is still in good condition. Courtesy of the Clark family

Both of Clark’s children spoke about how he was always engaged and involved in their lives.

When Bryce Clark joined the Cub Scouts, his father became a den leader. He also took martial arts classes with his son.

“He took us for walks in the woods and made forts along the way,” Bryce Clark said. “He was a kid at heart and wanted nothing more than to spend time with us. If we wanted to go on a walk, he wanted to come with us. He was the most supportive, loving father you could ever imagine, and more.”

His daughter, Sara Hope Clark, 27, of Sunnyvale, California, broke down in tears when she said that she wrote all of her college essays about her father. She said he taught her to be fiercely independent and a creative problem solver and he could make anything feel special or magical. She described going to the beach with him during a lightning storm, and playing for hours with him in the Saco River.


“He loved being a father more than anything,” she said. “I went through some notes in his office recently. I read one note that said, ‘I’m only happy when I’m parenting and painting.’ I’m saddest about the future and not being able to have those moments with him again.”

One of the cars Perry Clark painted. “Every time he painted something, you could hear him say, `Wicked,’” Bryce Clark said of his father. “Wicked was one of his favorite words.” Courtesy of the Clark family

Clark was engaged to marry Sandra Pelletier, his partner for 13 years. In recent years, he was active in the Standish Kiwanis Club and the Buxton Masonic Lodge, where he served as both president and lodge master.

He loved dancing and spending time in Florida with Pelletier.

It was in mid-November, when Clark and Pelletier drove from Maine to Florida, that they both fell ill. They spent two days in Florida before returning to Maine.

On Nov. 23, they tested positive for COVID-19. Clark was admitted to Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland, where he was placed on a ventilator the next day. He was later transported to Maine Medical Center, where he died with his children and fiancé by his bedside.

At Perry Clark’s funeral, his family hung the print that says “Everything’s gonna be alright,” which was a gift to two of his children in the summer of 2021. Bryce Clark, Perry’s son, said “it was so intrinsically reflective of his optimism that we felt it was important.” One of his old paint cans is displayed on the altar here with his brushes and airbrushes. The family used it later as an urn for his ashes. Courtesy of the Clark family

“COVID-19 is a terrible, vicious and heartless thing,” Bryce Clark wrote on Facebook. “There is an emptiness that it leaves in its wake that is quick to fill with sorrow, rage, and confusion. … But against all odds, my family still finds joy that my father is finally free to do what he has always told us was the pinnacle of art – the mastery of his life long pursuit. He always said that painting the sun and the clouds as the day set was the epitome of imitating heavenly perfection while on earth. Today, my father can freely paint the sun rise and fall with all of the perfect colors that only heaven can provide.”

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