By Paula Tracy, InDepthNH.org
PORTSMOUTH – Portsmouth philanthropist, entrepreneur and gastroenterologist Dr. Jeffrey E. Clark has died. Born on May 21, 1938, Dr. Clark was 84 years old.
The duo, along with his wife, former state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, have been known for more than 45 years as a powerful team to help New Hampshire’s vulnerable communities, especially children, women and the environment.
Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, called Dr. Clark a community leader, philanthropist and “beloved” husband.
“Dr. Clark was one of the most interesting, kindest, most generous people I have ever met. He is respected and successful in many fields and will be forever remembered in New Hampshire.
He has left a lasting impression on the Granite State, on the political world and far beyond. “My heart goes out to Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, his beloved wife – Caleb, Anna, and Tan, his children whom he loved so much – and his four grandchildren who were the lights of his life,” Buckley said.
Clarks moved to Portsmouth in 1973 and served on more than 40 boards over the years.
Both have been involved in New Hampshire politics, with Martha Fuller Clark serving six terms in the New Hampshire State Senate. Martha Fuller Clark currently serves as the New Hampshire Democratic Party Vice Chair.
Dr. Clark served as a physician in the Gastroenterology Professional Association for over 32 years. He is also one of the founders and the first medical director of Braintree Laboratories Inc. and was medical director at pharmaceutical developer Ischemix, working to find treatments for heart and kidney disease.
“I will always remember Jeff for his wonderful friendship and as a fellow gastroenterologist, for his remarkable achievements in science and medicine,” said Dr. Thomas Sherman of Rye, a former state senator and retired gastroenterologist who is also running for governor. .
Not only was he a respected and compassionate physician, but his work revolutionized the science of health care and benefited millions of people around the world. A man of gentle humility, Sherman said, he will be missed.
Dr. Clarke also produced documentaries, including “Abandoned at the North Pole,” which retraced an explorer’s 1881-1884 efforts by sea kayak 700 miles from the North Pole.
He was also involved in Sustainable Harvest International, which works to promote the conservation of the world’s critical habitats.
Dr. Clarke volunteered by helping put on sets at the Theater of the Seas, which became the Beach Repertory Theatre, and later served as a board member and led a fund drive to “encourage people to go to the screen and to care He said in an interview published in the New Hampshire Business Review.
“It was a trial by fire to find people, and the money we raised was a pittance today, but at the time it was a lot of dollars. I was happy to write a check and I learned that asking people for money is one thing but asking them for a contribution is another. Dr. Clark said during the interview: Expanding the base of people who have the means to participate and then keeping them involved and seeing the benefits was challenging.
When asked what public service means to her, she told NHBR: “I think one thing: it’s a lot of fun. It can be frustrating because you don’t always get what you want, but it’s wonderful to help manage important institutions and have a lot of influence in many areas. “I have never regretted the contribution I have made.”
Rep. Annie Custer, D-NH, said her contributions will go unnoticed because New Hampshire lost a giant in Dr. Clark’s death.
“Dr. Jeffrey Clark was a generous and thoughtful friend who always went out of his way to help others. For decades, he made a positive and lasting impact on communities across our state. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones,” Custer said. .
Portsmouth Mayor Daglan McEachern said: “Portsmouth lost a leader on Saturday. Jeff worked tirelessly to make life better in our community. His loss is immeasurable and on behalf of the City of Portsmouth our condolences go out to his beloved wife Martha and their children Caleb, Anna and Tan.
In 2019, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation honored the Clarks for their commitment to women and girls in New Hampshire.
The foundation presented the couple with its AmplifiHER Award, citing Clark for more than 40 years of “dedicating his personal and professional life to strengthening New Hampshire communities,” according to NHBR.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.