The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993 Page: 322
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Southwestern Hzstorzcal Quarterly
He not only tried for eighty-six, he attained it gloriously, a "first-class
first-class man" who enriched the lives of all those around him for all
the days of his life.
Let me explain what Edward Clark considered to be a first-class first-
class man. If he knew a man about town whose reputation was not
particularly shiny, a man who was not much of a person of accomplish-
ment, whose potential for same was not very bright, Clark referred to
him as a second-class second-class man. If that same individual gave
occasional evidence of some redeeming qualities and from time to time
made a contribution to the well-being of the city, he was elevated to a
first-class second-class man. An individual of good reputation who only
occasionally lapsed into good citizenship, a man who occasionally came
up just a little short, that individual was elevated to a second-class first-
class man. But a person who clearly stood above his peers, had an un-
questioned reputation for integrity, was involved with the support of
virtually everything worthwhile in a community; was an individual
whose contributions to his profession, his city, his state, and his country
were not only worthy but outstanding; whose business acumen was out-
standing and whose judgment seemed never to fail, then that rare in-
dividual was a first-class first-class man. A better description of Edward
Clark could not be found.
Ambassador Clark was also very fond of the saying, "too slow for
'possum and not fast enough for 'coon," which he had inscribed along
with a sketch of the subject critters on his personal stationery. In his
beloved East Texas, the saying refers to a fellow who doesn't quite have
it all together. Mr. Ed used this saying in a self-deprecating way; but
his friends in East Texas, and all over the world, knew him to be faster
than any 'possum and plenty quick for any 'coon.
Conversely, he had a passion for excellence and achievement. It
would be difficult to find a man to equal his accomplishments and influ-
ence as a lawyer, diplomat, businessman, banker, political strategist, or
historian. U.S. Rep. Jake Pickle referred to him as a giant of a man,
and former U.S. Sen. Ralph Yarborough compared his death to the
falling of a giant oak. He shaped Texas's civic, business, and political
activities more than any other person of his time. He gained the respect
and trust of both Democrats and Republicans. The Austin Amerzcan-
Statesman called him a well-loved ambassador of good will, President
Johnson having appointed him ambassador to Australia in 1965. He
served for three years and became the most successful ambassador to
that strategically important country in our history.
As a young man, Clark served two terms as county attorney in San
Augustine before moving to Austin to serve as assistant attornev ven-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993, periodical, 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/m1/380/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.