Jackie Lee McClarty

1938 - 1997

Jack L. McClarty successfully pursued careers in music at three Seventh-day Adventist colleges and as Director of Development and Alumni at Southern Missionary College, now Southern Adventist University. He was noted for his dynamic leadership and creative innovations in both areas.

Jack was born in Kalispell, Montana, on July 11, 1938, one of three children and the youngest of two sons of Joseph Homer, an amateur musician, and Beryl Thelma Elwood McClarty. He was fascinated with music and started lessons on trumpet at an early age, playing well enough by the time he completed high school at age 17, that he was awarded a full-ride music scholarship to the University of Montana. He completed a degree in music education in 1960, with a major in trumpet and a minor in percussion.

Upon graduating, McClarty accepted a position teaching band and choir in Conrad, Montana. He spent most of his first paycheck buying his widowed sister a car, an act indicative of his kindhearted nature. In the middle of his first year of teaching, though, he was notified that he was about to be drafted into the army. The draft board relented, however, on the condition that he join the National Guard at the end of that school year.

Following six-months of military training and graduation from the U.S. Army Cook School in December 1961, McClarty took the advice of a friend and began graduate study at Andrews University. Shortly after he arrived, he met Wilma Doering, a graduate student in English and a flutist, and in June of 1962, following his baptism into the church and her graduation, they married. They taught for one year at Milo Academy and then returned to AU, where he completed a master's degree in music in 1964, the first person to graduate from this new program at AU.

For the next two years they taught at Kingsway College in Canada. In 1966 they enrolled at the University of Montana, where both Wilma and Jack completed doctorates in 1968. That fall they joined the faculty at Southwestern Adventist College in Keene, Texas, where they lived until 1972. During this time their daughter, Julie Lee, began baton twirling, accompanied by the band. She would eventually earn more than a thousand twirling trophies and medals.

In 1972 the McClartys accepted an invitation to teach at Southern Missionary College. A son, Stacey Jack, was born in 1976. For the next seven years McClarty conducted the band, providing dynamic, charismatic, and imaginative leadership. band concerts were major events that always attracted full houses.

His groups at SWC and Southern toured often and were invited to perform at the Houston Astrodome, Disney World, the Omni, and many other places. He had a special interest in sacred band music and helped create a reference resource of works for other directors. When his band was invited to play at the Southeastern College Band Directors Association Convention, he presented a sacred music concert. He was a sought-after guest conductor, adjudicator, and band clinician.

In 1979, McClarty accepted a position as assistant purchasing director at McKee Baking Company. A year later, he was invited back to Southern to serve as Director of Development and Alumni, a position he readily accepted. He enthusiastically met the challenges of the new position and over the next 17 years helped raise more than 25 million dollars.

He was a pioneer promoter of the scholarship endowment concept in Adventist higher education. At the time of his death in 1997, over $9 million dollars in endowments were generating scholarships for hundreds of students at Southern. McClarty also created the first fully endowed chair at any Adventist school and subsequently raised the money for four more. His creativity in writing fund-raising proposals, preparing presentations, and generating new concepts in development won national awards, recognition, and prize money for the school.

McClarty became one of the first 1500 people nationally to become a Certified Fund Raising Executive, a distinction earned only by those who meet rigorous standards in performance, knowledge and service. In the summer of 1996, he was given the prestigious Trailblazer in Philanthropy Award at the triennial convention of SDA development officers.

He also wrote proposals for off-campus projects, voluntarily advising those who were raising funds for various projects and became a leader in the local philanthropic community. And he continued to make music, conducting the band at the Standifer Gap Church School for seven years, while his son, Stacey Jack, attended. On many occasions, he played duets with Stacey, who also played trumpet. As with his previous bands, the one at Standifer traveled widely and played for special events, including major league baseball games, and at colleges, prisons, civic activities, and two General Conference Sessions.

McClarty's sudden death at the age of 59 from a massive heart attack in September 8, 1997, following an early-morning jog, was a devastating blow to his family and the university. The funeral service, attended by an overflow crowd, was moving and poignant, with heartfelt eulogies by his wife, Wilma, and his son, and a homily by the university President. The SAU orchestra and the organ, played by Judy Glass and Stacey Jack, provided music.

The 1998 Southern Memories yearbook was dedicated to him. Described as an "Upbeat Band Director, Alumni Diplomat, Gifted Fund Raiser, Admirable Administrator, and Devoted husband, Father, and Friend," McClarty was given credit for helping bring about the construction of seven buildings on the campus, including the new music building. The dedication concluded with the following:

Nowhere was Dr. McClarty more successful than at home, a proud, devoted, loving husband and father to wife, Wilma, daughter, Julie Lee, and son, Stacey Jack. Perhaps the greatest tribute said of him was this: "Dr. McClarty did naturally what other men have to read books to learn how to do - be a wonderful spouse and dad." The success of his ministry to them is clear in the excellence of their accomplishments under his love and encouragement.

As when a great tree falls and leaves a "lonesome place against the sky, " so with the death of Dr. McClarty. But on that Resurrection Morning when the trumpet of the Lord will sound, he will hear Jesus' voice: "Well done thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Matthew 25:21


Source: Prepared in consultation with Wilma McClarty in 2004, using materials from the service, newspaper announcements and articles in The Southern Accent, September 12, 1997, 1, 12; the 1998 Southern Memories yearbook.

My Tribute

In remembrance of my father

Stacey Jack McClarty


What words to say, what songs to play, in remembrance of this man?

Can tongue speak forth or instrument sound to make us understand . . .

What loss behold before me now - my father laid to rest.

His smiling face, his gentle hands, now silent on his chest.

What life he had - and freely gave to build his work and home.

Unselfish love he held inside that often brightly shone.

A Renaissance man, and aptly named, his legacy lingers on . . .

A Mozart to music, Bill Gates in the office, a Casanova to my mom.

How altered in an instant - one beat of the heart - can change the course of life.

Seen through his living - perpetual good, save this - death's poisoned bite.

I remember once, not long ago, I sat upon this stage,

Trumpet in hand, concert begun, glaring at the page.

For dad couldn't hear the concert well . . . standing barefoot off one edge.

While on my feet were his two shoes - mine forgotten . . . by my bed.

To any sport I chose to play . . . in sun or pouring rain,

He'd be there on the sidelines - the only parent . . . at a meaningless game.

That was my Dad, his invigorating spirit - love found in him its anthem.

This man here. . . that's not my Dad. . . just the body that contained him.

And such was he - his selfless soul, he set the standards high-

Of moral belief, of courteous manner - God's earthly alibi.

He gave me strength, he was my guide, he set my life at ease.

Of him, I cannot say enough . . . immortal man to me.

Immortal, yes, now in my heart, for fate has thieved away

This mortal flesh-but left his mark through the model that he gave.

So stands the greatest compliment that I have ever had,

When someone gleamed at me and said, "You remind me of your dad."

Now dad there lingers but ONE thing of you I truly hate:

You're no longer here for me to love . . . to hold . . . to appreciate.

As you lay there, life ebbing out, you opened up your eyes

And shone that knowing sparkle ... your love through death's disguise.

Now who to blame, it's just not fair ... the judgment drawing nigh;

Satan gave you death, but God will bring back life.

The devil lies in wait for you, claims, "This man owes me his soul."

God says, "NO. . . . . . this one's with me . . . I will pay his toll."

Heaven's walls will soon contain God's people . . . everywhere,

People like you, Dad, and I promise . . . I will meet you there.

     September 11, 1997


For Dr. McClarty

Angel A. Reach

The flag's halfmast for you

The wind whips through its stitching

And the way it billows and blows

Even in the red, white, and blue

Shows how much they really miss you.

Yesterday they lowered the flag

Today we sat in solemn rows

In shades of black and grey

Tear stained cheeks, furrowed brows

Show how much they really miss you.

The flag's back to the top of the pole

And the bustle presses on

Late for class, late for work

People move on, while she moves slow.

Her flag's still halfmast for you.

They can forget the way it felt

But her hurt won't ever let it go.

She wears it in her gait

She wears it in her glow

Her heart's halfmast for you.


The following Sonnet was used in Wilma McClarty's

Eulogy for her husband on September 11, 1997


Edna St. Vincent Millay

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied

Who told me time would ease me of my pain!

I miss him in the weeping of the rain;

I want him at the shrinking of the tide;

The old snows melt from every mountain-side,

And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;

But last year's bitter loving must remain

Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.

There are a hundred places where I fear

To go, - so with his memory they brim.

And entering with relief some quiet place

Where never fell his foot or shone his face

I say, "There is no memory of him here!"

And so stand stricken, so remembering him.