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July 20, 2019

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He was always watching BHS sporting events, even though he wasn’t in the stands

Tom Clark left Bluffton after high school, but, Bluffton never left Tom

Tom Clark left Bluffton after high school, but Bluffton never left Tom.

The son of Jim and Mary Clark, he grew up with older brother, Steve, in the family house on North Main Street where Riley tees into Main. He graduated from BHS in 1977.

• Watch a video below with 4 U.S. referees, including Tom, working Junior World Championships in Romania in 2011.

• Click here to view his obituary.

The BHS Cappy Clark Award, given to the outstanding male and female senior, is named in honor of Tom's father.

Surprisingly, Tom was vice president for a company that makes fruit baskets that resemble flower arrangements.

Tom made a name for himself in the sport of wrestling:
• an official for 35 years in Ohio and Indiana
• 1988 USA Wrestling Official of the Year
• Referee at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
• Worked dozens of World Championships and major international competitions at the Senior level
• board member of the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association, and current USWOA vice-president
• active in USA Wrestling programs in Indiana and Ohio
• named 2005 ISWA Official of the Year
• received Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Officials Association Award for excellence in wrestling in 2007

Rich Bender, USA wrestling director, said this of Tom: "He is one of the true 'good guys' in the sport of wrestling. Tom's friendly and fun-loving spirit will be deeply missed. He was a true lover of the wrestling sport, deeply committed to helping others.”

He commitment to wrestling was at all levels, from youth to high school and on the international level.

According to USA Wrestling, Tom retired from international officiating after the Beijing Games, because he wanted to open up opportunities at the highest level for young, talented officials.

In a personal note, Tom was an avid Bluffton Icon viewer. Nearly ever time the Icon posted the score of a BHS varsity game – win or lose – Tom would “like” the story.

He was always watching Bluffton sporting events, even though he wasn’t in the stands.

Interview with 4 U.S. referees working Junior World Championships in Romania