Within a period of eight days, Ashland lost two of its respected leaders of the past: Former Ashland city commissioners William Mordica Jr., 80, who died Wednesday at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, and Jerry E. Clark, 72, who died on Independence Day in Dallas, Tex.

Although he has been out of the public eye for a number of years, Mordica was a fixture in city government from 1967 to 1987, serving nine terms on the Ashland Board of City Commissioners. During that period, he brought sound reasoning and quiet, competent leadership to city government. He spoke his mind freely, and while this newspaper did not always agree with him, we always appreciated his candor and his dedication to the city.

Mordica’s long tenure in city government came to an end in November of 1987, when he lost a close race for mayor to the late Dick Martin, a well-known radio executive then making his first run for political office.

For many years, Mordica served as president of the Ashland Roadrunners and organized many excursions of various lengths for that travel group. One such excursion ended in tragedy when 18 area residents — all part of a group of 81 Roadrunners — were among the 165 people who died in a horrific fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate on May 28, 1977. Mordica had the unhappy task of identifying most of the area victims of the fire.

While his time in city government was not nearly as long as that of Mordica, Jerry Clark served three terms on the commission during the early years of Mordica’s long service. However, Clark probably is best remembered for his 28 years of teaching in the Ashland school system between 1966 and 1994. He coached football for a time at the old Putnam Junior High School and was a principal and teacher at the Ashland Day Treatment Center. As retired teacher Phil Haney said in a letter published Wednesday, Clark’s greatest impact may be the inspiration he was to the many young people he taught over the years.

In high school Clark was a football star for the Ashland Tomcats, being named to the All-State team in both 1950 and 1951.

Like Mordica, Clark loved to travel. During his life, he visited every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Together, Mordica and Clark logged literally millions of miles traveling throughout the world.

Although neither Bill Mordica nor Jerry Clark had been active in city government for more than two decades, the city continues to reap some of the benefits of their accomplishments on the commission. They were two men with a deep love for this city, and they will be missed.

Although he has been out of the public eye for a number of years, Mordica was a fixture in city government from 1967 to 1987, serving nine terms on the Ashland Board of City Commissioners. During that period, he brought sound reasoning and quiet, competent leadership to city government. He spoke his mind freely, and while this newspaper did not always agree with him, we always appreciated his candor and his dedication to the city.

Mordica’s long tenure in city government came to an end in November of 1987, when he lost a close race for mayor to the late Dick Martin, a well-known radio executive then making his first run for political office.

For many years, Mordica served as president of the Ashland Roadrunners and organized many excursions of various lengths for that travel group. One such excursion ended in tragedy when 18 area residents — all part of a group of 81 Roadrunners — were among the 165 people who died in a horrific fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate on May 28, 1977. Mordica had the unhappy task of identifying most of the area victims of the fire.

While his time in city government was not nearly as long as that of Mordica, Jerry Clark served three terms on the commission during the early years of Mordica’s long service. However, Clark probably is best remembered for his 28 years of teaching in the Ashland school system between 1966 and 1994. He coached football for a time at the old Putnam Junior High School and was a principal and teacher at the Ashland Day Treatment Center. As retired teacher Phil Haney said in a letter published Wednesday, Clark’s greatest impact may be the inspiration he was to the many young people he taught over the years.

In high school Clark was a football star for the Ashland Tomcats, being named to the All-State team in both 1950 and 1951.

Like Mordica, Clark loved to travel. During his life, he visited every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Together, Mordica and Clark logged literally millions of miles traveling throughout the world.

Although neither Bill Mordica nor Jerry Clark had been active in city government for more than two decades, the city continues to reap some of the benefits of their accomplishments on the commission. They were two men with a deep love for this city, and they will be missed.

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