Owner, Funeral Director
Nevermind the name. Never mind the family. Dale Clock was still born to be a funeral director at Clock Funeral Homes.
Sure, wanting to follow in the family business was a factor, but for Dale Clock, the most important thing was the chance to help people carry on their own family traditions, their own memories. It could only be considered a calling for him. And it was a calling he couldn’t ignore, not from college, not even from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Dale Clock was born Sept. 28, 1957 in Muskegon, the fourth generation of Clocks in the area (being from good Dutch stock, the name was derived from Vanderklok). Dale has three sisters, Terri, two years his elder, Kay, three years younger and Ann, four years his junior. As a child Dale always had a voracious appetite to learn new things. He enjoyed swimming, skiing (both snow and water), and singing. His summers were mostly spent at the family’s cottage on Big Blue Lake, and he attended camp every year and also worked at Y Camp for several summers as a junior counselor and swim instructor. He began piano lessons at the age of 8, and had a fondness for school and the many activities it offered.Dale was co-captain of the swim team at Muskegon High School, played on the tennis team, sang in two different choirs, a barbershop quartet, and played piano in a four-piece combo he started! For all his efforts, he was awarded a full-ride scholarship by the United States Navy to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., after graduating from Muskegon High in 1975.
Dale loved Northwestern, and stayed active there, too. He became a member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity, sang in the university chorus and was a performer in the Waa-Mu Show, an annual student musical and comedy review. Dale graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in Industrial Engineering in 1979, and then shipped off to fulfill his commitment to the Navy over the next five years. Dale was based in San Diego, Calif., stationed for 2 1/2 years on the USS Ranger aircraft carrier, with another 2 ½ years on the USS Cleveland, an amphibious assault ship. Dale made three different deployments during his tenure, visiting Africa, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Singapore, The Philippines, Thailand, Japan and Korea.
But being on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific can give a man time for introspection, and Dale couldn’t ignore his life’s mission. So, when he returned to the mainland (and dry land), he enrolled in Worsham College of Mortuary Science, graduating in 1986.
But somehow, he always knew he’d return home. Dale started working at the family funeral home when he was in Jr. High, after all, washing cars and cutting the grass. During high school and college he moved up to delivering flowers, running errands and working the parking lot. It was during college that he began to realize that he wanted to keep the family tradition alive and eventually return to Muskegon to join the family firm.
For Dale, it was a completion of a family circle four generations in the making.
“My great grandfather started the firm in 1897,” Dale explains. “My father and grandfather never placed any pressure on me to choose this as my career. But I always had a great sense of respect and pride for their position in the community and the trust that people placed in them. My inner voice told me that it was important to carry on a wonderful tradition. Plus, I wanted to be a respected businessman and leader in the community, just like my forefathers.”
There’s little question about that now. Dale is considered by all who know him to be an all-around nice guy, who always has a hard time saying “no.” He’s a caring, fun-loving and creative man, as dedicated and reliable as they come. All these fine traits translate into the consummate funeral professional.
“It’s my job to take care of people, no matter what their need is,” Dale explains, “as they travel through these very difficult days, and help them create a service that is right for them and one that celebrates the life of the loved one that they have lost.”
Today Dale has gained much. He lives in Muskegon with his wife, business partner and best friend, Jodi. Dale’s daughter Kellie works for Michigan State managing the Study Abroad program. In his free time he is involved with the Muskegon Civic Theatre, where he has served on the board for 10 years and tries to perform in one production each year. He also attends First Congregational Churchin Muskegon where he also sings in the choir and plays piano. But Dale doesn’t stop there. He also likes to golf, snow ski, and do home repair and building projects, as well as travel. In the summer, he and his family spend time at their cottage in South Haven.
But it’s here in Muskegon that holds his heart, where he knows he can do the most good. That’s Dale’s true passion, helping people cope with the grief of loss, in any way he can.
“As I have matured in my role and observed the thousands of families that have called on us, I have come to understand the vital importance of human contact, and the gathering of people for support during tough times,” Dale says. “It is the human spirit that needs to be fed. And a good funeral can help feed that spirit.”
Dale believes that the true value of a funeral is the gathering together of people and the sharing of stories. “It’s my job to help people tell their stories” explains Dale, “in ways they can’t imagine during their days of grief. And it’s through those stories that they heal. It’s the stories that a tear in their eye, some warmth in their heart, a lump in their throat, and a smile on their face. Because stories are what life is all about.”
And for Dale Clock, and those who know him, the story just keeps getting better.
Jodi was born the youngest of three daughters in Minneapolis, Minn., yet was primarily raised in Batesville, Ind., the hometown of the Batesville Casket Co., where her dad, Charles Perkins, was busy climbing the corporate ladder. Jodi’s sisters were much older, Sharon by 14 years and Joanie 22 years her senior, so Jodi was raised almost as an only child. She filled her days the way most happy young girls do, playing in the pool for hours, ice skating, or just playing outside with friends. Eventually, the Perkins household moved up to Battle Creek, Mich., where Jodi graduated from Battle Creek Lakeview High School in 1979, where she was involved in just about everything. Cheerleading, ballet, jazz, acrobatics, diving, theater … you name it. She was interested in everything.
After graduating, Jodi earned Associate’s degrees from Kellogg Community College. She finished her undergrad degree at Spring Arbor University and went on to earn her Master’s degree in Organizational Development from Spring Arbor University, as well. Then it was time to find her place in the world.
Her life and her career now full-circle, Jodi has channeled her passion into helping people make decisions that best fit their comfort zone during a challenging time. She does this on both the human side and pet side of death care. She is also a published author. Her book called “Navigating the Eldercare Journey….without going broke!”, is in it’s second edition. She loves to advocate and champion for people to make sure their personal and financial ducks are in a row.Jodi and Dale reside in Muskegon, with their dogs Sammy (a sheltie) and Mickey (a Snoodle), and cats Steve and Yama, who are all rescues. Jodi has one son, Brett Wright, who is also her business partner and at Phoenix Crematory Services (a Clock subsidiary company). Brett is happy married to his wife and they have two sons. She and Dale also have a cottage in South Haven, MI. When she’s not playing with her grandchildren, volunteering or advocating, you will find her on the beach most likely listening to Bruce Springsteen.