Nate's grandpa, Ralph Clark, grew up in a white house on Main Street in Smithfield. His older brother Gene joined the Army during WWII while Ralph was still in high school. Ralph joined the Navy at age 17, and served as a petty officer on the USS Rowan in the Pacific. Nate can remember Grampsie talking about watching the ocean from the ship. He even has a soldier coming home Christmas story! For the family's 2005 Christmas card, Grampsie wrote the story of his 1944 Christmas homecoming, which is transcribed HERE.
|"Our Sailor Boy Ralph Age 18 years"|
For a few years before Ralph was old enough to join up, Gene had been in the Army. According to the memory of two great-nephews (Nate and his brother Justin), Gene served in Italy, and "something about tanks." There is a poster in the Smithfield History Museum of all of the town's WWII soldiers which shows both Ralph and Gene's pictures. Both Clark boys were fortunate to come home safely when the war ended.
|Ralph, dad Carl Clark, Gene|
|1952 1st Lt. RT in Korea|
|1951 Lt. RT Clark, pilot Lt. Downer|