Known for his love of God, country, family and all things in water and wood, Frederick John VanVechten Brockway Clark died Feb. 11, 2017. His friends and family knew Brockway as a larger than life character, not just because of his lanky 6’ 2” frame. He was born May 5, 1930 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the third of four children of Helen and Charles Amory Clark II. The family moved to San Diego in 1936 and built their own home in midtown overlooking Lindbergh Field.
Brockway attended Grant Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High and San Diego High. He learned to swim at the YMCA and helped establish the first swim team at San Diego High. He was a student and a member at the Mission Bay Yacht Club, and in college worked as a lifeguard and a sailing instructor for the city on Mission Bay.
Upon graduating from San Diego High in 1948, he enrolled at Cal, but was drafted by the Army for the Korean War one semester shy of graduation in December 1952. He reported to Camp Roberts in February 1953 and after training spent a tour in Army intelligence at Fort Richardson, Alaska, where he also distinguished himself for his marksmanship. On leave in September 1953, he married the former Barbara Beale at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here. After the Army, they returned to Berkeley and Brockway completed his B.S. in 1955, entered the MBA program, and coached Cal’s swimming and water polo teams. In 1956 they made a six month visit to Europe, where Brockway studied at the University of Edinburgh and the Europäisches Forum Alpbach in Austria.
He ran his own real estate sales and management company from 1959 to 1973. After the birth of their youngest child, they moved to Point Loma in 1968. Shortly after moving, he became one of the founding members of the San Diego Board of Realtors Toastmaster Club (which later became Toastmasters 1808). He was a candidate for State Assembly in 1974. Beyond his civic activities, he had many hobbies. In the 20th century, they centered on the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, Mission Bay and various swimming pools. He practiced daily with Coronado Masters for several decades and participated in its annual 12-mile Around-the-Island relay swim. He was an avid scuba diver, and went diving at a time when abalone were plentiful off La Jolla Shores. He was the official starter for the San Diego International Triathlon in San Diego Bay from 1984-2014.
He was active in the San Diego Sail & Power Squadron and its predecessors for 49 years, including serving as its commander. As part of the Cooperative Charting program of the United States Power Squadrons, he searched for geodetic markers during his travels across the U.S. In his final years, he turned his energies and cutting humor to woodworking. He was active in San Diego Woodturners, including its recent Turn Around for Vets program. He also was a member of the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association and won prizes for his woodworking at the Del Mar Fair. A member of the Violin Society of America, in his home shop he made one violin, one guitar and 16 ukuleles.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara, as well as five children, seven grandchildren, his brother Charles, seven nieces and nephews, and 20 unfinished ukuleles. Services will be held March 11 at 3 p.m. at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 2051 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the San Diego Woodturners for the Turn Around for Vets project.