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In Memoriam: Peter Yuichi Clark

In Memoriam: Peter Yuichi Clark

The GTU is saddened to report news of the death of Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark, who for the past 17 years has served on the GTU consortial faculty as Professor of Pastoral Care at American Baptist Seminary of the West. The reflection below is shared with permission from the ABSW website. The GTU community joins ABSW and all the friends and family of Dr. Clark in grieving his loss and celebrating his life. 

On Friday, December 6, 2019, Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark passed away at home after a nearly three-year battle with cancer.  Dr. Clark served as part-time Professor of Pastoral Care at the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) for 17 years. He also served as, first Manager and eventually, Director of Spiritual Care Services at UCSF Medical Center for 9 years; and before arriving at UCSF in 2010 provided chaplaincy care in general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, continuing care retirement communities and the United States Air Force Reserve.  He was known at ABSW, in the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the greater Bay Area as the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) guru.

Rev. Dr. Clark was an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and a certified educator in the ACPE. Clark held a B.A. degree from Baylor University, an M.Div. degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Ph.D. degree in religious studies from Emory University in Atlanta.

In addition to serving as professor of pastoral care at ABSW and the GTU, Dr. Clark taught in the UCSF School of Medicine. He has served on the ACPE board of representatives and as ACPE theory paper editor for the journal Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, and he is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles.  In his most recent article, “Two Ministers, 26 Years: A Reflection on Engaged Hope in Cancer,” published in The Journal of Oncology (July, 2019) Clark shares much of his own experience as a cancer patient through the lens of a trained chaplain.  This article is worth the read.

Peter also was interviewed in the ACPE National Newsletter this last year where he insightfully detailed his journey through cancer. The interview was called "Clinical Trail Indeed."

Always the educator Peter sought to inspire his students and colleagues through his CaringBridge blog post and to offer his “sick body” in service to cancer research.  Accordingly, Peter said “yes” when asked for tissue and blood samples for research and when invited to participate in new treatment regimes, which led him ultimately to donate his body to science.

Dr. Clark had an infectious laugh and sense of humor, he was and will continue to be, loved and adored by all of his students and colleagues.  In his final years as a cancer patient he modelled for us great strength, integrity, authenticity, transparency, and a willingness to serve his communities through thoughtful theological and spiritual reflection on his medical journey.  He will forever be remembered as a great spiritual leader, professor, scholar and humanitarian.  ABSW grieves the loss of this faithful servant and colleague and sends condolences to wife Tilly, son Adam, Peter’s mother and Sister, extended family members and his numerous students and colleagues.  His physical presence with us will be sorely missed, but our loving memory of him will surely live on.

A memorial service will be held at UCSF sometime late winter/early spring.  The family has specifically asked that no flowers be sent, instead condolence cards may be sent to the family. Donations in Peter’s honor may be directed to the UCSF Cancer Immunotherapy Program, the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW), Bread for the World, Habitat for Humanity, and Amnesty International.