Students remember classmate Zachary Clark ’16

Students share their stories and memories of Zachary Clark '16. Stories gathered by Jake Loel.

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Hannah Glick ’16

“That friend of mine who lives in God,

That God, which ever lives and loves,

One God, one law, one element,

And one far-off divine event,

To which the whole creation moves.”

– In Memoriam, Alfred Lord Tennyson

I wish I could speak words of such eloquence that everyone could understand the person Zach Clark was. But that is the pitiful thing about language and the genuine merit about people. Words, a formidable gift from God, fall hopelessly short.  And yet, with my own infinite human shortcomings and a humble prayer, I would like to strive to come close to telling you about him. Not about how he died, but how he lived.

Zach possessed unmistakable characteristics that could hardly pass unnoticed.  His beloved Mustang and Starbucks cup were his most consistent companions. He had, for his entire life, an insatiable love of hotels, even to the point that his own room had similar resemblances.  The Bible in the bedside table and occasional mint on the pillow were the minute details that Zach constantly took account of in everything he did and encountered. He had an incessant habit of stealing his father’s sweatshirts and hats, and possessed an arduous dislike of sweatpants, even in the middle of winter. He was stubborn and ornery, trying not to lose patience should anyone leave fingerprints on his pristine car window, or accept the fact that moving to a new house was indeed not the end of the world.  He was so much like his mother that some days would find them dressed almost identically, in a casual white polo, comfortable jeans and Sperry’s.  He would stick to tradition, even if that meant midnight showings of The Hunger Games movies with hoards of squealing teenagers.  His grandmother was one of his favorite people in the world, and he probably quoted her more than an Evangelist with a Bible. Zach’s love was insatiable for all those he came in contact with, and he made a point to give hugs that would last a lifetime. He had a gift for showing comfort and support for others, even when they didn’t recognize they needed it themselves.

He was truly a gem with endless facets.

I cannot help but believe that there is a new angel above watching down below and praying for those he loved.

I know that everyone has a story to tell about Zach, and a memory they could share.  I would never count myself as the most important person in his life, but I feel incredibly blessed to be able to say I played some part in it.

God bless my dear friend, until I see you again.

‘I’ve heard it said

That people come into our lives for a reason

Bringing something we must learn

And we are led

To those who help us most to grow

If we let them

And we help them in return

Well I don’t know if I believe that’s true

But I know I’m who I am today

Because I knew you’

– “For Good,” Wicked

Nicole D’Souza ’15

Zach Clark touched the lives of everyone that he came into contact with, which was most of the University of Dallas community. Everyone can recall seeing him happily strolling around campus, walking with a spring in his step, arms swinging back and forth and a huge smile on his face. Zach led an exceedingly fulfilled life, overcoming many obstacles, yet always prioritizing everything perfectly.

His extremely devout faith was inspirational. He was always asking friends to accompany him to daily Mass. Although offered other exceptional opportunities, Zach chose to spend this summer doing missionary work in Minnesota, serving as a catechist, mentor and friend to those in youth ministry. A few weeks into the program, he sent me a picture of his team, with him standing at the side of the group and a big portrait of Jesus on his other side. His comment for the picture was that he had the best spot since he got to stand next to Jesus.

Zach cherished his family above all things and constantly expressed his deep love for them, not caring that he missed the latest school activity because he would prefer to spend time at home.

His enthusiasm for life was contagious. He constantly strived to be the very best possible version of himself. He dreamed big and knew that he was capable of achieving anything that he put his mind to.

Zach also loved to let loose and have fun, singing and dancing whenever he had the opportunity. He always showed that he genuinely cared for his friends, constantly making time and listening whenever we needed him. Our lively conversations almost took out several waiters when we would go out to restaurants, due to the both of us talking with our hands (and arms) a little too enthusiastically. He had a playful personality and one could always bet on getting some sarcastic comment followed by a “Zach” smirk. This was, of course, because he considered himself a member of Slytherin since he was so “sly and cunning”. He was goofy and loved to play jokes and tricks on people, and was so enthusiastic for April Fools’ Day.

In addition to Harry Potter, Zach loved Starbucks, the Broadway shows Wicked and Phantom of the Opera, Olivia Newton John and cars. Zach was so compassionate, always doing random acts of kindness for all of his friends, saying, “I just wanted to do something nice for you.”

The UD community was so blessed to have Zach, and how blessed we all are now, to have him as our intercessor up in Heaven. We will hold him in our hearts forever, and must carry on his legacy of sharing love, compassion, happiness and peace to all that we encounter.

Hank Walter ’16

Zachary Alan Clark left this world as more than just a 21 year old man. He had an integral role that was crucial to the purpose of many. He was a son, a brother, a grandson, a University of Dallas student, a volunteer, a Catholic, an employee, a human scientist, an Eagle Scout and a friend. He may have savored caramel frappuccinos and IHOP pancakes more than almost anything, but his undying passion for his family, friends and God surpassed these products. He will be remembered at the University of Dallas for his sanguine demeanor, everlasting smile and distinctly spirited stride, which gave light to his friends, our campus and everyone he encountered. He will be remembered by all, however, for his unfaltering faith in God.

Especially as a young college student who is still grasping the concept of mortality, it is difficult to find closure in a life that ended so abruptly. I will never forget the day that I heard the news of Zach’s passing. At first, it didn’t feel real. I hoped that it was some kind of nasty rumor, and that Zach would update his Facebook status with his typical chipper tone, clarifying the incident with one of his usual witticisms. That status never came. I began to wallow, reflecting on Zach and all of the material things he loved in life. I sat outside with some close friends thinking about how he will never be able to experience all of the epicurean sensations that he valued in this world, like drinking a cold Dr. Pepper on a hot Texas summer day, feeling the warm breeze press against his skin, indulging in the relaxing sound of 80’s synth pop music and engaging in an intimate conversation with a close confidant. These, however, were merely fleeting earthly pleasures that were so intrinsic to my image of Zach, that I simply could not bear to conceptualize his physical absence.

One thing that I found solace in, however, was that Zach Clark was a man of faith. His faith for our Savior was immense. His love for God and the Catholic Church was made manifest through his unfaltering service to his friends and family. Most importantly, he had an undying love for God. This summer Zach worked for Totus Tuus, Latin meaning “Totally Thine,” a ministry organization dedicated to serving Catholic youth across the United States. I feel like this is a fitting title for how Zach chose to live his life: Totally Thine. He lived a life where every word was meticulously chosen and every action had distinct, calculated meaning: to live his life serving his God. Any acquaintance of his could find his faith and optimistic spirit evident and refreshing.

I will never forget my dear friend Zach. I’ll think of him every time I hear a Journey hit or see a baby blue Mustang on the freeway. But I will especially remember his faith. I aspire to one day live my life and teach my children to live their lives with the same positive attitude and selfless demeanor that Zach did – totally thine.

Kat Schuett ’16

Zach was always smiling and no matter how rushed he was, he always made time for everyone. He genuinely cared and when he spoke to you — he was completely focused on only you. He was known for his late night IHOP runs and addiction to Starbucks. I remember freshman year, Zach came back from work one night and I got this text saying that he had free Starbucks food waiting in Theresa Lounge and that I should come get some. When I went in there everyone was devouring this food and Zach was just sitting there watching with a smile on his face. All he ever wanted was to make others happy which is why he was always seen doing selfless acts. Zach always knew what to say whenever I was having a rough time and he would treat me to a special treat, and I am sure I am not the only person for whom he did this.

One day he put my life into perspective. We weren’t the best of friends at this point but he saw that I was upset and asked what was going on. When I told him he just laughed. He laughed because what was bothering me was so trivial and he helped me realize that and was able to help me prioritize what really mattered in life and that started our friendship. One day, when I was mourning the loss of a family member, Zach told me, “J.K. Rowling was right when she wrote, ‘the ones that love us never really leave us.’” I believe this more than ever now, and I know that you have not left us but are just watching over us and protecting us. Zach was a blessing in my life and so many others, and I know he will always be with us.

Jenna Sommer ’16

“Jenna, are you going to the Student Government bowling this week?” an excited voice said behind me. I turned around, prepared to say, “No, sorry, but I’m so busy this week,” but then I turned around and Zach’s enthusiastic face was right there already encouraging me without even saying a word. I still had it in my mind that I couldn’t go bowling because my week was going to be jam-packed with lots of school work, meetings and who knows what else. Zach, as intuitive as ever, knew my wavering expression, read my mind, and said, “Jenna, you should make time for fun! It wouldn’t be the same without you!” My worries fled from my head for a moment and I told him that I would go since he wanted me there. He reminded me that I had to RSVP to the vice president of SG, but from my frustrated sigh for having to do one more trivial task in the midst of seemingly daunting ones, he even offered to email the vice president for me. Zach even cc’ed me in the most polite email that he sent and he drove me in his blue mustang to Main Event, where I bowled many gutter balls, but laughed a lot while doing so.

What I cherish most about this memory between Zach and I is that it gives a small glimpse of how it was to be supported by a friend like Zach. He didn’t just encourage me to do fun things, he made those fun things a little more memorable because I felt included, like my presence at a small gathering meant something to someone.  Zach was always giving me a pick-me-up, whether that was a Starbucks latte, an affirming text, a prayer or a warm bear hug. He gave me hope about my current worries, my past pains and my future plans. Zach would do a lot for me, even jump out of a plane to celebrate my birthday! He always had a smile or a kind word to give. Even now, I can feel smiles and hugs from him, encouraging me still. I will miss my friend and wish we could make more memories during our senior year, but I feel that where he is now is much better than our beloved university.

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