Senator James A. Clark, Jr.
James Clark, Jr. (1918-2006) was the second son of Judge James Clark and Alda Hopkins Clark, both born in Howard County, Maryland. He was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1959-1963 and a Democratic State Senator representing the 14th Legislative District in Maryland from 1964-1986. He married Lillian Hawkins, also of Howard County, in 1946 and they had four children.
The Clark family has owned farmland in Howard County since the early 1800s. Senator Clark’s father, the Honorable James Clark was born on Fairfield Farm in Howard County in 1884. He graduated from St. John’s College in 1903 and the University of Maryland in Baltimore in 1907 with a law degree. He married Alda Tyson Hopkins in 1912 and practiced law in Ellicott City. He was appointed Associate Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the State of Maryland in 1942 and served until 1954. He died shortly after retirement in 1955.
A descendent of Johns Hopkins and of the Ellicotts who settled Ellicott City, Maryland, Alda Hopkins Clark was born in 1891 in Highland, Maryland, on the White Hall farm. She was an avid horse enthusiast, riding and caring for horses as a child and through adulthood. She was very involved in the community, as a founding member of the Howard County Hunt Club, as a volunteer at the local blood bank during World War II, and as a founder and the first president of the Howard County Historical Society. She died in 1969.
James and Alda Hopkins Clark lived at Keewaydin, a farm located near Ellicott City, Maryland, and also owned a nearby farm known as Elioak Farm. They had four sons: John (born in 1914), Samuel (died in 1923), James (born in 1918), and Joseph (born in 1927). James Clark, Jr. (“Jimmy”) graduated with a degree in animal husbandry from Iowa State University in 1941. During World War II James volunteered to serve in the Glider Pilot Corps, while his brother Joseph was in the Merchant Marine. James’ unit, the 442nd Troop Carrier Group, 303rd Squadron, was sent to Europe in 1944 and he participated in two notable campaigns: Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands in September 1944 and a U.S. airborne mission into Germany, Operation Varsity in 1945. At the end of the war, he participated in a mission to transport victims of the Dachau concentration camp to Belgium in the spring of 1945. James was discharged in late 1945 as a 1st Lieutenant, with life-long friends by his side.
After returning from Europe, James Clark, Jr. and Lillian Hawkins ended their six-year courtship and married in 1946. He fulfilled his dream to run the Elioak Farm after agreeing to a partnership with his father. James and Lillian ran the farm, raised cattle, started a dairy operation, and began a family in 1950 with the arrival of their first son, Mark Tyson. The Clarks had three more children: Priscilla Phelps (born in 1953; died in 1959), Martha Anne (born in 1954), and James Hawkins, “Jamie” (born in 1963).
James Clark, Jr. was raised with a respect for the land, as well as an interest in government and civic duty. Although he saw his primary occupation as a farmer, with his finances in order and his family started, he decided to pursue his dream of a political career. He won a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates and served from 1959-1963. In 1964 he was elected to the Maryland State Senate to represent District 14, remaining in office until his retirement in 1986. Senator Clark had many interests while in the Senate, including land preservation, fiscal responsibility, and pension reform. During his first term in 1965, he co-sponsored a civil rights fair housing bill that, while controversial, passed the Senate and laid the foundation for moving forward on civil rights equality in Maryland. During his second term, Senator Clark served as chairman of the committee to create the “Program Open Space” bill, which went into effect in 1970, preserving open spaces for recreational use. He served as the first vice president of the Maryland Constitutional Convention in 1967. During his fourth term, Senator Clark was chair of the Finance Committee. From this committee the Maryland Farmland Preservation Foundation bill was presented and signed into law. Senator Clark was elected Senate president in 1978 and served from 1979-1983. As Senate president, he prioritized pension reform legislation which was passed into law during the 1979 legislative session.
Senator Clark also reached out beyond Maryland’s borders into national issues. From the mid-1970s to early 1980s, he worked tirelessly to generate support for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He was a member of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), an organization that lobbied for the American taxpayer, and became chair of the Balance the Budget Amendment Committee in 1978. He was a vocal supporter of Jimmy Carter in the 1976 and 1980 presidential elections, hosting the candidate at Elioak Farm on more than one occasion. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter appointed Senator Clark to the Pension Reform Commission.
Senator Clark retired in 1986 and returned to Elioak Farm to attend to the farm. He remained involved in community issues, frequently giving speeches and attending functions as a former state senator. He was an active member in the National World War II Glider Pilots Association, participating in reunions and trips with other members. Senator and Mrs. Clark visited Holland on more than one occasion to mark the anniversary of Operation Market Garden, including on the fiftieth anniversary in 1994.
Lillian Clark passed away in 2001; James Clark, Jr. died in 2006.