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Michael Clark Passes Away at 64

Clark Signs owner and Walldog remembered by Elaine Wallis and others.




Michael Clark, owner of Clark Signs (Aledo, IL) and beloved member of the Walldogs, passed away on August 30 after a battle with cancer. He was 64, according to Memorial services were held Sept. 2 at the First Baptist Church of Aledo.

Clark was born in 1959, in Monmouth, IL. He attended Warren High School and excelled at sports, music, and academics — ultimately being inducted into the school’s Athletic and Music Hall of Fame. He attended Monmouth College, then met the love of his life, Denise Gowdy, and he followed her to Illinois State, where he graduated with a degree in animal science. Michael and Denise married in 1979 in Aledo.

Many of Clark’s signs, logos and lettering jobs dot the countryside in Mercer, Rock Island and Warren Counties. His true passion was painting with the Walldogs, a group of signpainters and skilled muralists, whose work can be seen in cities and towns around America and the wider world.

Elaine Wallis on Michael Clark

We reached out to Clark’s friend and fellow sign artist Elaine Wallis, who was just returning from Iowa and the 30th Anniversary of Walldogs. “I was so sad to hear of Michael’s passing but really felt his presence at the meet,” she wrote. “In fact, I included Michael’s image as the auctioneer in my Farm Aid mural [see image below]. It only made sense and I was hoping to see him there.”

Farm Aid mural by Elaine Wallis featuring Michael Clark as the auctioneer.


Wallis doesn’t remember the Walldog meet at which she met Clark, but once she did, she says, the two were fast friends. “He was like a big teddy bear,” Wallis wrote. “The room always got smaller when Michael entered. His big booming voice and jovial laugh filled the space. But it was his murals that will live on.”

Clark did his research thoughtfully, Wallis wrote, and kept the design simple and really strong. “He wasn’t afraid of color and he knocked it out quickly with that distinctive woodcut style,” Wallis wrote. “That was Michael’s signature!”

He was famous for sending his friends their name rendered in his beautiful hand-lettered style, Wallis recalled. “He sent me mine in 2014 [see image below]. I imagine there are a whole lot of his friends who have their own. Rest in peace my friend,” she concluded. “See ya on the other side.”

Elaine Wallis’ name rendered by Michael Clark in 2014.

More on Michael Clark

Michael and Denise Clark raised four children. He served as a volunteer firefighter for the Aledo Fire Department and was a member of the Grace Evangelical Free Church, where he was the church chairman. He believed in giving back to his community.


Michael Clark (1959-2023) will be missed.

Click here to listen to WRMJ’s interviews with fellow Walldogs Jay Allen, Kurt Gaber and Mike Meyer.



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