In memory of Jim Clark


My name is Stephanie, and I was privileged to call Jim Clark one of my most cherished friends for almost 50 years, ever since we first met at Yale in the fall of 1974.

Jim died suddenly of an apparent heart attack on April 2, 2022, in his home town in northern New Jersey. He was the only child of two only children who were not in contact with their families, and after his parents passed he believed that he literally had no family in the world. That's probably why he created such a vibrant and loving family of friends. He had no spouse, no children, and no will.

Jim's honorary sister and most trusted friend (and designated emergency contact) was my former roommate Susan Thomas. Susan took the call from the emergency room at Saint Clare's Hospital to inform her that Jim was gone. She drove from her home in Maryland up to Jim's house the next day, where he always hid a key for her, to assess the situation and make a plan.

Here is what your donations are being requested for:

  • Susan needs to get herself appointed as Jim's executor so she can get copies of his death certificate, gain access to his accounts, and make sure his bills are paid, his website stays online, and his unpublished work product is accessible and protected. This could be challenging, as they are not related by blood. She will need to hire a New Jersey attorney to help. The attorney will also help search for any cousin or other relative who would be Jim's next of kin and heir under New Jersey law. We do not know yet how many hours of attorney time will be required, or how much of this type of expense is ultimately reimbursable by Jim's estate. We expect the bulk of the expenses to fall into this category.
  • Susan will also need to manage the process of getting Jim's earthly remains transported and cremated, and his ashes returned. This expense alone could be $1000 or more.
  • She will be driving regularly between her home in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC and Jim's house in New Jersey. These funds will reimburse her for receipted gas, tolls, mileage, food on the road.

We don't know yet whether there will be a distant cousin somewhere who will end up inheriting Jim's house. If no heir can be found, the plan is to sell the house and donate the money to the LGBTQ+ groups at Yale that Jim cared so deeply about. He always said that he wanted Yale to have his extensive collections of books and music also, and of course we will make that happen if there is no heir and Yale is willing to accept the collections.

Any money left over from this GoFundMe campaign will also be donated to LGBTQ+ groups at Yale.

Many of Jim's friends have already indicated their willingness to help out financially, so we created this GoFundMe to provide a platform for people to give. We appreciate it more than words can express.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Stephanie Vardavas
Portland, OR
Susan Thomas

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