Dr. John P. Clark, 83, passed away April 6, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa. Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 14th, at Hamilton’s near Highland Memory Gardens, 121 NW 60th Avenue in Des Moines. Funeral services will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday also at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Highland Memory Gardens. The family respectfully requests that masks be worn.

On July 2, 1937, ‘J’ was born in Melrose, Iowa at 4 ½ lbs, the only boy to be born in that hospital. He was sent home, with doctors unsure if he would survive. His cousin Grace traveled across the field and turned on the coal stove oven, placed him in a turkey pan with blankets and set him in front of the door. He loved to tell people that he was “half-baked.”

In 1960, he married Colleen Shinn and had a daughter, Tami. They later divorced. He met Janice Stephenson in 1971, married her in 1972, and between 1976 and 1983 they had 4 children, John (J.P.), Shalon, Errin and Ayrel. In August 2020, J and Jan celebrated 48 years of marriage.

J graduated Chariton High School in 1956 and moved to Des Moines to attend Drake University where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts in 1964 and received his Masters of Science Degree in 1968 from The College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (now DMU). He went on to teach Pharmacology there and in 1972 decided to further his education; in 1975 he obtained his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency in Grand Rapids, Michigan before returning to the Des Moines area to practice family medicine.

Dr. Clark practiced family medicine in the Des Moines area before opening his own practice in West Des Moines in November of 1978. He retired in 2017. He cared for many patients, sometimes multiple generations of families. He loved his patients and believed in taking the time to get to know them and talking to them as part of their care. Over the years, he had many medical students come through as part of their rotations. He was exceedingly proud to be a part of their education.

After his retirement, he went back to his art roots. He began going to live music events with his good friend, Dr. Alan Koslow. While listening he most frequently could be found sketching the musicians while they played. He sold some of these drawings and even sketched a former patient who was in one of the bands. Even though most of these evenings were at local bars and he was frequently offered drinks, he liked to say, “I don’t drink and draw.”

J was quite a character and was always quick with a joke or story, even if you had heard it many times before, it was still fun to hear him tell it. He loved sci-fi, especially Star Trek, but if you asked him he would say he was a Trekker, not a Trekkie.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Janice; children, Tami (Greg) Freier, John (J.P.) Clark II (Vicki Alleman), Shalon (Matthew) Olson, Errin (Brian) Sharp, and Ayrel Clark-Proffitt (David Proffitt); six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law, and other family and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the family. Online condolences may be expressed at

Service Details

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
5:00 to 8:00 pm
Hamilton's near Highland Memory Gardens
121 NW 60th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50313
Thursday, April 15, 2021
2:00 pm
Hamilton's near Highland Memory Gardens
121 NW 60th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50313
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Highland Memory Gardens
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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