World War II ski soldier, vets group founder dies

AP News
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Posted: Dec 31, 2014 8:13 PM
World War II ski soldier, vets group founder dies

DENVER (AP) — Earl Ervin Clark, who served in the famed 10th Mountain Division in World War II and helped found the unit's veterans association, has died. He was 95.

Clark died Sunday, his close friend Dick Over told The Associated Press. The cause of death wasn't available.

A lifelong skier, Clark was a member of the National Ski Patrol and was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 2001.

Clark was born in Londonderry, Vermont, on July 3, 1919, and learned to ski as a teen in Wisconsin, the Denver Post reported (http://tinyurl.com/oxovcwb ).

He joined the Army in 1942 and volunteered for an experimental skiing unit that became part of the 10th Mountain Division.

After completing officer candidate school, Clark was assigned to Camp Hale, Colorado, near Leadville, where the division trained.

Its best-known action was on Riva Ridge in Italy in 1945. The soldiers scaled a cliff to attack German positions, helping Allied forces move northward.

After the war, Clark was instrumental in founding the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division and International Federation of Mountain Soldiers, which includes German, Austrian, Italian and French mountain ski soldiers.

Clark attended a reunion of 10th Mountain Division soldiers the day before his death, said Over, a fellow veteran of the unit.

After the war, Clark was instrumental in founding the 10th Mountain Division National Association and International Federation of Mountain Soldiers.

He also served as senior vice president of the 10th Mountain Division Foundation, which placed a memorial to the division on Tennessee Pass in Colorado.

Clark moved to Colorado after the war, graduating from the University of Denver with a business degree. He worked in the insurance business until retiring in 1981. He lived in Littleton.

He served on the ski patrols at Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Berthoud Pass and Winter Park resorts.

A memorial service is pending.

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Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com