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November 26, 2012

Clark remembered for his love of history, government

Everyone’s life has a story. In “Lives,” we tell some of those stories about North Shore people who have died recently.

TOPSFIELD — It’s a testament to attorney and former Selectman Stephen Clark’s fair-mindedness that he was able to form a lasting friendship with attorney Bob Holloway, a Democrat whose beliefs were “worlds apart” from Clark’s Republican ones.

What was even more interesting, Holloway said, was their bond formed over a disagreement.

“He treated everyone the same way,” Holloway said about Clark, who died after a two-year struggle with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells of the bone marrow, on Nov. 17. He was 61. Clark was known for his fondness for history and genealogy, and his government and public service.

“It’s hard to believe he’s gone, because that’s way too young,” said Holloway, a former member of the Masconomet Regional School Committee who wound up in a thoughtful exchange with Clark over the drug and alcohol policy that the regional school board had approved around 1990. At the time, the two men had daughters in seventh grade at the school.

“He didn’t want me to sign it because it was a zero-tolerance policy,” recalls Clark’s daughter, Amelia Mattson, now 33, about her father’s concerns. While Holloway and Clark did not agree on the policy, the exchange left Holloway with a feeling of respect for Clark.

“We did so in a very agreeable manner,” Holloway said of his disagreement with Clark, “and that’s the way Steve was. He was a good guy, very thoughtful.” The two eventually served on some town committees together, including the Town Management Committee, which reshaped Topsfield’s government, expanding the Board of Selectmen from three to five members and creating the post of town administrator, among other reforms.

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