Thanksgiving for the life of Clarke Oler

From All Saints Rector, Ed Bacon:


Dear Friends –

I am writing to share the news that after a long illness, Clarke Oler died on Monday afternoon April 6th at the age of 89.

I am sure you will join me in a mix of profound sadness as well as deep gratitude for his life. We celebrate his impact on All Saints as a faith community, as well as on the lives of so many individuals in the parish through his ministry of Pastoral Care and his influence on the creation of our Covenant program – which became our new member and confirmation classes. A vibrant participant in the work and worship of All Saints Church for decades, Clarke was with us for both Palm Sunday and Easter services. We were so very blessed by his presence and by his life.

His children, John, Ellen and Kim, are in the process of making plans to celebrate Clarke’s life. I will keep you posed as those plans develop.


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8 comments, add yours.

Kitty Hall

Clarke was my friend over sixty years. I will miss him as I do Wendy. We shared many happy

He was such a wonderful man. I always remember him because he used to conduct the early service on Sundays. I attended that service about twice a month. He and Wendy were so much a part of All Saints’. Thank you for the post.

Clark was the first person I talked to in 1985 regarding the possibility of returning to active ministry by being received as an Episcopal priest. At one point in the conversation I said to him that I was aware that the Episcopal church was not in need of more clergy approaching age 40. His immediate response was that the church however needs GOOD priests. He certainly met that criteria. In three years I will have been received as an Episcopal priest for 30 years. My goal is to meet his criteria by then.

Clark was one of the first people to welcome my wife and I to All Saints back in 2000. I appreciated the advice he gave us in Ed’s office for our first Newcomers meetings. It has always stayed with me. I also appreciated Clark’s struggle with praying in the traditional sense – and sharing with me that prayer isn’t limited to an official way, but rather is also possible in simply being conscious of the life around you at any given moment. Thank you Clark. You led a beautiful life. Your life touched mine and Maddie’s.

Bill Hardwick

Clark was my first mentor in the Episcopal Church. His wit and wisdom had an enormous influence on me and helped me along the path to ordination. His compassion and his generosity were his stock in trade, and he was an outsized presence in the life of All Saints. I mourn his passing.

Clarke was a model priest in so many ways–faithful, compassionate, and smart. He was a huge gift to me as friend and colleague and I will miss him deeply.

Ellen Oler

My father, Clarke, dearly loved All Saints Church. You have been a true family to him and to Mom. You surrounded him in every way while we, his “rotten kids” lived far away from him and Mom in New York. Being with you, sharing in your glorious worship, and getting to know many of you have been highlights of my many visits over the years. And so many of you, their dear friends, have become my friends. I want to particularly thank Ed Bacon, George Regas and Zelda Kennedy for ministering to him. Zelda, your attention to him during the last chapter of his life gave my brothers and me such peace. It was hard to be so far away from our dear father and yet we knew how well cared for he was you ALL of you, his All Saints Family. He deeply cherished his place in your midst. Thank you.

Kem Edwards

Squint, as we knew him at Yale, was a venerable alumnus of the Whiffenpoofs and Spizzwinks(?) and the Yale Glee Club. His repertoire of solo songs with guitar accompaniment was extensive, songs from another era like “I love wild flowers” and “Gretchen Pumpernickel.” He was a consummate performer. Although most of us didn’t know him as priest, he will be long remembered for the homily he gave at the Whiffenpoof 100th Anniversary in 2009. He captured hearts and minds. We will miss his humor, his voice and his presence.

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