YMCA Camp Storer

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"The Clark Ewing Saga"

by Greg McKee

 

"This I Remember"

The scene: a meeting room somewhere in Toledo.
The date: the waning days of 1960.
The participants: the YMCA Storer Camps Search Committee, led by the iconic John Anderson, gathered to hear from preferred candidate, Clark Ewing.

The years following the passing of Camp legend Doc Miller in 1954 had been challenging ones, and the committee had offered the position to one of “Doc’s boys” - Clark Latham Ewing - and Clark sat before them, poised to deliver his response. “I accept your offer,” Clark proclaimed, and the response from a normally staid John Anderson was electric.

“Yippee,” John exclaimed, tossing the stack of papers into the air. With this memorable act, John ushered Storer into an unprecedented era.

In taking the reins as director, Clark - with the counsel of his wife Marilyn - gave up a lucrative position with Reynolds Construction Company to direct a non-profit camping operation. Clark took Doc Miller’s dictum - “The Greatest Thing in life is Service” - and applied it to transforming YMCA Storer Camps into a world-class camping operation.  What follows is the Clark Ewing Saga, outlining the traits and vision that made him a great director, husband, and parent.

 

"Upbringing"

Clark Latham Ewing was the middle of five children born to Paul ad Viola Ewing in Toledo Ohio on Sept 22, 1926. Clark developed his love of music early in life, singing in the renowned Trinity Church Boy’s choir at an early age. Attending Macomber High School during World War II, Clark became involved with the Toledo YMCA, first with the Macomber High Y program, which included retreats at Storer Camps. There he met Doc Miller, a legendary Camp Director who would transform Clark’s life. Storer became the site where he met his true love—Marilyn Heinbush. Clark had noticed her as a friend’s date at the renowned Camp Storer staff party weekend. Clark’s opportunity to connect with Marilyn occurred that fall.  As he tells it, he was working in the kitchen on a High Y weekend that Marilyn was attending, and found time on Saturday evening to head across the lake for an memorable evening horseback ride. The rest is history…

Clark faced a daunting challenge during his youth---stuttering. This created multiple challenges in his school career. The cure came via his time in the Trinity choir, and a Dale Carnegie course that Clark took early in his professional career. Like Moses, Clark overcame this affliction to become a gifted and charismatic public speaker.

Clark graduated from Macomber High School in 1944,  and immediately joined the Army Air Corps . He was assigned to a base in Denver for the duration of the war.

Clark’s summers from his sophomore year in high school through college were spent on the banks of Stony Lake. Clark served as a counselor, waterfront director, trips leader and village director, becoming one of “Doc’s Boys”. Doc Miller served as Clark’s mentor, and left an indelible impression on Clark. His emphasis on faith in God and on service provided guideposts for Clark’s development.

1945 saw the end of World War II—and the beginning of the Ewing family. Clark and Marilyn wed on September 4, 1946. Clark then accepted a position with Reynold Construction, and became adept at designing, marketing, and constructing split level homes that were becoming a family favorite in Toledo. He kept a strong tie with Camp Storer, serving as a weekend staff person and Board member, Clark continued his support into the 1950s, helping out after the passing of Doc Miller at the end of the 1954 summer. The years following Doc’s death were challenging, and Clark did what he could—until that fateful meeting with the Camp Board in 1960 when he became Executive Director of YMCA Camp Storer.

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