The Passing of Phil Clark & Buddy Ward

Phil and Buddy were both regular contributors on the email discussion group. We certainly will miss them. Here are a few words written by the Heard.

Phil Clark

  • By David May
    Some of you Heardians knew Phil Clark, the former owner of my company Diversified Concepts, Inc. which we now call DCi Sound. Phil passed away last evening at 82 years old and went to claim his reward in Heaven. I met Phil in 1977 when he became my boss, then mentor, friend and 5 years later my father-in-law. He was a great teacher- he would never answer a question, instead he would direct you to where you could find the answer. Phil was good friends with Don and Carolyn Davis back to the 60’s when Don was at Altec Lansing and needless to say I was introduced to SynAudCon right away in 1977. In fact DCi hosted SynAudCon classes in Syracuse and the Davis’ would park their motor home at our shop.

    Phil will surely be missed by the numerous people who knew and enjoyed his charismatic and gentle character, and I like many others know and do what we do today because we are standing on the shoulders of those, like Phil, who came and went before us.

  • By Don Davis
    Phil Clark was indeed a friend of the Davis’s. There were few in the world who matched Phil’s knowledge of the history of audio. I often called upon him to help me find references to men like Steinmetz, Armstrong, Fessenden, Black, and many others whose original papers were difficult to obtain. He would look in his storehouse (an old schoolhouse building that he owned near his home) and share the papers with me. I remember one time, when he had the storehouse “bugged,” that he apprehended two thieves. One of them said, “We better get out of here before it’s too late.” They turned and saw the barrel of the shotgun as Phil announced, “It IS too late!”Earlier this month we corresponded re General James Marshall of the Manhattan Project and Phil was going to send us a DVD of General Marshal and Ted Lavery, both at West Point together. He didn’t get around to sending it.

    The steepest hill we ever descended with our truck and trailer was that leading to his home. In our several visits to the home of Phil & Lauri, one of the most memorable was with Dr. Ahnert where the good Dr. was taught to ride Phil’s riding lawn mower. We still have the picture.

    Those of us who knew Phil personally had our lives greatly enriched. He was not only technically brilliant, and as his son-in-law, David May, pointed out Phil would lead you to the threshold of truth by asking a question in answer to your question, and let you have the thrill of discovering the answer for yourself. Phil and Lauri named one of their daughters “Pye.” She was one of the first women and at 14 years old the youngest person to attend and graduate a SynAudCon seminar.

    Phil was a genuine conservative in the highest meaning of the word and a man with a heart big enough to laugh at the follies and love the humans he encountered. He will be genuinely missed by all who knew him. Carolyn and I extend our deepest condolences to the family.

  • By Doug Wilkens
    I am saddened to hear of the passing of Phil ClarWe were at many Altec clinics together. In many ways the education provided by the old Altec clinics was like the predecessor to SynAudCon, and friendships developed during the “old Altec days” that continue to this day.The Altec contractor network was very much a fraternity and you could feel comfortable with other Altec contractors even when meeting the first time because you knew they met a certain baseline – again much like SynAudCon.

    In the same fashion that DCI hosted SynAudCon classes, I did the same when I worked at Peirce-Phelps Audio Systems Division (and yes, with Don and Carolyn). Later on I was delighted to carry on the tradition of hosting SynAudCon seminars at Community and then at Inter-M.

    Yes, I will miss Phil – he was a good man.

  • By Keith Dorset
    Sad to hear about Phil Clark. I remember Don saying he was the best
    contractor he had ever met, bar none. That made an impression on me
    coming from Don. I wanted to be like that. When the list formed, I knew
    to sit up and take notice when Phil posted. I only met Phil once back in
    the 80s at a SynAudCon event. His presentation on rigging a cluster was
    the turning point where I threw aside all the jackleg stuff I’d been
    taught, started using real hardware and treating it serious like a heart
  • By Wayne Lee
    Yes sad news about Phil Clark.  We met at Altec functions and then at
    SynAudCon events also.  As mentioned, when he spoke or posted, I paid
    attention!   Just as many of the industry pioneers, he made an impression
    everywhere he went.  I grew up with a few original Altec Contractors when
    they were actually engineers, and he was one of the best.  One favorite
    moment was at a SAC event he had his trifocals around his neck, three pairs
    of different strength glasses all in a row.  I resemble that now I just keep
    my three in my briefcase!

Buddy Ward

  • By David Wright
    Sadly, I am informed from Buddy Wards wife, Tammy, that he passed away this afternoon at the hospital in Evansville, IN.  He died while sleeping during kidney dialysis.   He always enjoyed the SAC listserve and the support he gleaned from it.
  • By Carolyn Davis
    We met Buddy Ward when he attended a SynAudCon seminar at the farm.
    After Buddy has spent the morning around a table with Pat teaching
    gains and losses, Buddy pushed back his chair and said,
    “Why can’t we do it the natural way, just hook it up and see what happens?”  So
    started three days of Buddy keeping the class smiling and happy with
    his Kentucky stories. Don Fillers from TN was in the class, he said to
    Buddy, “Give me your phone number.  When I am having a downer I will
    call you for a good laugh.” Several of his stories come to mind as I
    think about Buddy.  How wonderful! And how much Buddy will be missed.
  • By Pat Brown
    I have known Buddy since his first SynAudCon at the Farm in the ’90s. I’ll see if I can coax Don Davis into sharing that story. I helped him out on a number of projects over the years due to the fairly short 1.5 hour drive down to Jasper. Buddy was a picture of sincerity with regard to wanting to do it right. He lived in a geographic concentration of German Catholic churches and cathedrals (i.e. reverberation) and had a way of getting his foot in the door with his outgoing and genuine personality. Buddy was a “good old boy” in the best respects, and would do anything for anyone. With Buddy, you never quite knew what you were going to get. I remember going down to help him tune a line array on Memorial day years ago. When I got out of the car he said “Get back in – the church is 3 hours west of here (all country roads).He played guitar in a bluegrass band, and his fiddle player (Norbert) is a talented welder and has an impressive machine shop out in the middle of nowhere. He produced Buddy’s dodecs and also built parts of my loudspeaker rotator. Buddy just seemed to know everyone down that way, and had a way of getting just about anything done.

    Buddy bought the local music store from Kimball (the piano people) a few years back. I always felt that they extended him too far in unloading the store, which didn’t help his ongoing health problems. He eventually closed it and went on with contracting out of his home.

    Anyway, so long to a friend and colleague. God speed, Buddy Ward.

  • By Steve Roth
    I will miss Buddy also – I always enjoyed our telephone conversations, and if
    anyone here has seen the Dodecs he made, you will know what a truly gifted
    craftsman he was.
  • By Wayne Lee
    Very very sad about Buddy.  I met him once or twice at SAC functions and his
    enthusiasm, humbleness, and genuine personality was always refreshing.  And
    yes, he made a helluva dodec.  Too young and too many things still to
    contribute, especially to his loved ones and family.
  • By Keith Dorset
    Sad to hear about Buddy. Talk about someone who soldiered on despite
    circumstances. There’s inspiration there.