Clark V. Poling was born August 7, 1910 in Columbus, Ohio. He was the son of Susie Jane Vandersall of East Liberty, Ohio and Daniel A. Poling of Portland, Oregon. Clark’s siblings were Daniel, Mary and Elizabeth. Clark attended Whitney Public School in Auburndale, Massachusetts where his teachers remembered his maturity and delicate side of his nature. The Auburndale days ended when his mother died in 1918. She is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery, Uniontown, Ohio. Clark’s father was an Evangelical Minister and in 1936 was rebaptized as a Baptist minister. Reverend Daniel Poling was remarried on August 11, 1919 to Lillian Diebold Heingartner of Canton, Ohio.
Clark attended Oakwood, a Quaker high school in Poughkeepsie, New York, and was a good student and an excellent football halfback. Clark was a council member and president of the student body. In 1929, he enrolled at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and spent his last two years at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, graduating in 1933 with an A.B. degree. Clark entered Yale University’s Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut and graduated with his B.D. degree in1936. He was ordained in the Reformed Church in America and his first assignment was the First Church of Christ, New London, Connecticut. Shortly thereafter, he accepted the assignment of Pastor of the First Reformed Church in Schenectady, New York.
Clark was married to Betty Jung of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the next year, Clark, Jr. (Corky) was born. With our country now at war with Japan, Germany and Italy, he decided to become a chaplain. Talking with his father, Dr. Daniel A. Poling, who was a chaplain in World War I, he was told that chaplains in that conflict sustained the highest mortality rate of all military personnel. Without hesitation, he was appointed on June 10, 1942 as a chaplain with the 131st Quartermaster Truck Regiment and reported to Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on June 25, 1942. Later he attended Chaplains School at Harvard with Chaplains Fox, Goode and Washington after his transfer to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts. Shortly after the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was sunk on February 3, 1943, his wife, Betty, gave birth to a daughter, Susan Elizabeth, on April 20. Chaplain Poling was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Cross.