Editor’s note: Please see our updated obituary with more details here.
Tom Clark, a former mayor who served as a councilman for 30 years representing the 4th District—the longest of any councilperson in city history—died Wednesday morning. He was 93.
Clark, who has a plaza named after him, also served on the Long Beach City College Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2013, and served as president of the Community College League of California, the California Community College Trustee Board and the League of California Cities.
He was elected to an unprecedented eight terms as a councilman, from 1965 to 1996, and was selected by his peers three times to serve as mayor before the mayor was elected by citywide voting.
Clark rode in on the Queen Mary when it arrived in Long Beach in 1967, and is credited with sponsoring legislation that led construction of El Dorado Park and the Main Library Downtown. He moved to Long Beach in 1933 and worked as an optometrist, a business from which he retired in 1993.
Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement that the city mourns Clark’s death.
“His friendship will be deeply missed, but his legacy remains with us every day,” Garcia said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Born on July 13, 1926, in San Diego, Clark joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Long Beach’s Wilson High School. He attended Long Beach City College before earning his doctorate in optometry from the UC Berkeley.
The plaque at the “Dr. Thomas Clark Plaza,” located at the southeast corner of Bellflower Boulevard and Stearns Street in the Los Altos Shopping Center, reads: “No one in Long Beach history has given more for a longer period of time than the Honorable Tom Clark.”
The plaza was dedicated in 2016.