Wayne Clark is the founder of the Clark family in Spearfish Lake. He was originally from Chicago and inherited some money. As his grandson explained, "He was a great businessman who knew when to jump and where to jump to when it was time. Even when everybody else was jumping the other way, his instincts were usually pretty good. For instance, he pulled out of the stock market in early 1929, six months before it bit the big one."HC4
The Clark's already had a summer cottage in Spearfish Lake when Wayne moved his family before the crash. Wayne "had an interest in a beat-up sawmill and lumbering operation, some big ideas, and some money to invest"HC8 During the depression, he managed to cheaply purchase much timber land around town as he built Clark Plywood, but it was with demand from World War 2 that ensured its success.DW17
Wayne had one son, Brent, by Flora. "She died as a result of childbirth of her second child, who also died."HC8 He subsequently dallied with Donna, wife of Garth Matson, and married her after her divorce, upsetting many in the community. Donna was referred to as "his last wife" implying there might have been other marriages, which given that "he liked chasing skirts", could have ended in divorce.HC4
Wayne died in 1958. On his death, he left 30% in Clark Plywood to Donna, 30% to Brent and 30% to his step-son Frank Matson.AF26 However, according to Ryan Clark, the distribution was 40% to Brent, 40% to Donna, and 10% to Frank Matson.DW17 The remaining smaller shares went to others.