Biography of Edward Strong Clark

The services rendered by the late Edward Strong Clark to the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company, of Providence, in various capacities, and latterly as senior vice-president, were invaluable. Having had supervision of the real estate and mortgage loans of the institution, his well known practical knowledge of business, both as to financial administration and investments were conducive to the further success and prestige of the company. In philanthropies and charities he gave much of his best thought for their development and usefulness. An outstanding feature of his exemplary life was his devotion to the cause of religion, and for many years he was a faithful and helpful member of the Congregational Church.

Born in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, December 7, 1855, Edward Strong Clark was reared in the wholesome environment of a parsonage. His father was the Rev. Lewis Franklin Clark, who was pastor of the Whitinsville Congregational Church for many years. Having passed through the schools of his native town, he completed his education by the pursuit of courses in English and the classics at the well-known Mowry and Goff School in Providence.

As he grew into manhood he evinced an aptitude for participating in financial affairs. At the age of nineteen he joined the staff of the Merchants National Bank of Providence in the position of clerk. Quick at figures, readily grasping details, and exhibiting a willing spirit, his superiors perceived that he merited advance, and he was soon promoted to teller.

In 1883, Mr. Clark was appointed in the banking institution of the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company as assistant secretary. He fitted in finely into that position; so well, in fact, that in the following year he was made secretary. For twenty-one years he continued to demonstrate his increasing worth to the success and services of the institution. In 1905 he was advanced to vice-president and given a goodly measure of executive power. He fully measured up to the requirements of that responsible position, and some years prior to his death was senior vice-president. With his usual dignity, courtesy, and undisputed ability, he discharged the duties of the office second only in position and importance to the chief executive.

To Mr. Clark the institution was an embodiment of sacred obligations to be fulfilled with unyielding faithfulness in the discharge of the responsibilities assumed both in behalf of its living clients and of those who had entrusted to its care their estates for the benefit of surviving relatives. Unlike many successful American business men, he was not wholly immersed in business, and he found time to devote to worthy charities, to philanthropic work, to the pursuit of literary studies, and to advance the cause of religion. He was a member of the corporations of the Rhode Island Hospital and the Butler Hospital, was interested in the Neighborhood House, and was president of the Workingman’s Loan Association. He was ever ready to respond to any call that he felt was just and for the good of the people. He was active in church affairs, and had served as treasurer of the Beneficent Congregational Church for many years. In later years he had participated in the worship and work of the Central Congregational Church. He was connected also with a number of other organizations, the purpose of which was to extend charity or philanthropy in a practical way. He was a life-member and local treasurer of the Rhode Island Society of the Archaeological Institute. Mr. Clark was also a member of the Providence Art Club, the Historical Society of Rhode Island, Rhode Island School of Design, the Hope Club, and Agawam Club. He had a keen interest in outdoor sports, and was especially fond of golf.

Edward Strong Clark married, in 1880, Miss Theo Taft, of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, the daughter of Gustavus E. Taft. Mr. Clark passed away on January 23, 1913, his death removing a gentleman of the old school, a member of a large circle of admiring friends and kindred spirits, a highly-placed financial executive, and a most kindly disposed exponent of the gospel of love and good cheer for his fellowmen.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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