Clarence Hallmark, God’s faithful servant, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Sunday, April 19, 2020. Clarence was born July 16, 1925, to Maynard and Nina Gosch Hallmark in Fayette County, Texas. He died peacefully at his home in Gonzales, Texas, with his wife by his side.
He married Anita Rutledge March 6, 1959, at Eastside Baptist Church in Gonzales. To their union were born three daughters. Clarence cherished his family and provided loving and godly leadership as the head of his family.
Clarence was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Margaret Helen Hallmark Johnson.
Surviving him are his wife of 61 years, his daughters Ruth Ann Hallmark Van Steen and husband Alex of Eatonville, Washington; Rosalind Jo Hallmark of Gonzales, Texas; and Rachelle Lee Hallmark Pankey and husband John of Katy, Texas. Two grandchildren surviving are Josiah Daniel Pankey of Houston, Texas and Keren Eve Pankey of Katy, Texas. Also surviving are niece Patricia Kirksey and great nieces Anna Kathryn Squire, Margo Dailey, Leah Sue Hollis, Tonya Martinez, and great nephew James Paul Schacherl.
Clarence was saved at Elm Grove Baptist Church at the age of 11 years. At the age of 8, he began piano lessons and was soon playing for the services at the Baptist church in Elm Grove, Texas. Throughout his life, he was known for his ability to play as church pianist, organist, and revival accompanist in many churches throughout the area. Clarence used his musical gifts on the piano to honor and glorify his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To many, his music was like a sermon of praise.
Clarence is a World War II Veteran. He served in the U. S. Navy aboard the U. S. S. McClelland Destroyer Escort 750 as a signalman. At the commissioning of the ship, the duty of hoisting the Union Jack was assigned to Clarence Hallmark. The “Mighty Mac” was primarily an anti-submarine ship assigned in the Pacific Theatre, fitted with the most sophisticated sonar equipment available at that time. The U.S.S. McClelland patrolled from Pearl Harbor to islands of the Pacific and was anchored in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered. Clarence described the rainbows at Honolulu as breath-taking and as beautiful bursts of color that seemed to appear from everywhere. These were reminders that God still controls His creation. In 2005, along with many other WWII veterans, Clarence participated in the Veteran’s History Project conducted by the American Folklife Center which video-recorded his recounting of his WWII experiences; these recordings now reside in the Library of Congress. Clarence’s daughters and sons-in-law placed a commemorative brick in the pavement at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans in his honor.
After the war, Clarence enrolled in Baylor University for a period of time to continue music study. He gave piano lessons from his home in Gonzales for more than 30 years. He also played piano for countless weddings and funerals.
Clarence served in Member Relations for Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative for 27 years. He was a lifelong rancher, raising Brangus cattle on his ranch and birthplace in Fayette County.
Clarence is described by those who knew him well as always having his life in order and as one of the godliest men they have ever known. He loved the Bible and often was selected as a Bible teacher. Clarence’s life was a sermon well lived in love, honesty, and faithfulness.
Honorary pallbearers are Charles Rasmussen, Billy Peeler, Jene Dreyer, Bruce Baker, Lynn Wilson, Bobby O’Neal, Larry Fortune, Charles Pankey, Steve Scott, Bobbie Joe Rutledge, Jerry Rutledge, and Johnnie Rutledge.
Friends are invited to view from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday morning April 25, 2020 in Seydler-Hill Funeral Home with the present-day guidelines of social distancing being actively enforced. A family-only funeral service officiated by Rev. Robert Ramirez is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2020, at Seydler-Hill funeral home in Gonzales. Memorials may be made to Eastside Baptist Church, P. O. Box 54, Gonzales, TX 78629.
Friends may leave their condolences and share their fond memories of Mr. Hallmark with the family by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.com. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.