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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
John A. Clark

In the twenty years that John A. Clark, manager of the East Calgary branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, has been identified with the banking interests of western Canada he has had a variety of experience in frontier life that is not usually associated with the career of a banker. Any one at all familiar with the conditions in the Klondike region in the first decade of this century will quickly guess that as teller in branch banks at Skagway, Alaska, and White Horse and Dawson, Yukon, Mr. Clark's life was not a routine affair spent behind big counters pouring over ledgers.

In far-away Scotland John A. Clark was born, on November 24, 1874, in the town of Kirkintilloch. His father, Archibald Clark, was a railroad contractor throughout his active life and is still living in his native Scotland. The mother of John A. Clark bore the maiden name of Jeanie Shanks. She passed away in 1887. The subject of this sketch spent his youth and young manhood in his native land, where he was educated, graduating from the Glasgow high school. When lie left the classroom he entered the Commercial Bank of Scotland and there worked for six years as a clerk, receiving a thorough training in the accounting and bookkeeping branches of the banking business. He left the bank to enter the steel works of Stewart & Clydesdale, Limited, being employed for another six years in the order department.

Mr. Clark came to Canada in 1902, and at first located in British Columbia, working for Lord Aberdeen on his ranch during the summer and early fall of that year. In November he entered the employ of the Canadian Bank of Commerce at Vancouver, British Columbia, and has remained with this institution. When the bank opened a branch bank at East Vancouver the following year he was made teller, holding that position until December, 1904. He next served as teller in the bank at Skagway, Alaska, for nearly two years. In February, 1906, he was transferred to White Horse, Yukon, for six weeks, then sent on north to Dawson, where he worked until 1908, returning to White horse at the end of that period to assume charge of the branch at that place. In 1908 in the month of November he sailed for Scotland on a visit, and while abroad was married, on January 7, 1909. Bringing his bride back with him to the Dominion, he resumed his duties with the Canadian Bank of Commerce as manager of the branch at Latchford, Ontario. In 1911 he was transferred to the bank at Biggar, Saskatchewan, and filled the post of manager there until 1914. The summer of 1914 was spent in a second trip back to Scotland. Returning to Canada in August, he went to Stavely, Alberta, as manager of the bank there. At the beginning of the year 1916 Mr. Clark was appointed to his present position as manager of the East Calgary branch. The steady advancement he has made during his long period of employment with the same institution is sufficient evidence of his ability. The years he spent in the Klondike region were those following the gold rush, conditions were still unsettled, and a more permanent development was just getting under way. The hope of finding a sudden fortune had attracted to the region gold seekers and other adventurers who always look to a new country for the realization of their romantic dreams. To conduct a business of any kind in such environment, let alone a sound financial enterprise, requires resourcefulness and self possession quite as much as a technical knowledge of its internal machinery. From his experience on the fringes of the world Mr. Clark brought back an understanding knowledge of human nature, a maturity of judgment and the ability to formulate and execute plans which have enabled him to fill with great credit the responsible posts to which he has since been appointed.

As has been already stated it was on the first of his trip back home that Mr. Clark was married. His wife was formerly Miss Elizabeth Russell of Scotland. They have become the parents of two daughters: Betty, born in December, 1909, in northern Ontario; and Jean, whose birth occurred in this city on the 16th of March, 1918.

Mr. Clark has remained true to the religious teachings of his Scotch parents, being a member of the Presbyterian church and treasurer of the Calgary Presbytery. He is a Mason and a member of Stavely Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and also belongs to the Arctic Brotherhood. In politics he is not affiliated with any of the organized parties, preferring to give his support to the men he thinks best qualified for the office.


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