Statesman Journal, November 21, 2006,
Salem, OR.

Marvin Clatterbuck, former director of School for the Deaf, dies at 95

A former longtime director of the Oregon School for the Deaf, who also served as a school administrator in Ivory Coast, died Sunday.

Marvin B. Clatterbuck, 95, served as an educator and a director for the Oregon School for the Deaf in Salem for nearly 40 years. He retired in 1973. Clatterbuck then moved to Ivory Coast in Africa to serve as a director for Ivory Coast Academy, a school for the children of missionaries.

He and his wife, Margaret, served twice in Africa for two-year stretches, said his son Gary.

Under Clatterbuck's time as director, 19 buildings opened on campus, said Jane Mulholland, the school's current director. The Clatterbuck Central Services Building on campus was dedicated in his honor, Mulholland said.

Oregon School for the Deaf dorm manager Ricky Wright attended the school while Clatterbuck was the director. Wright said through a video-phone interpreter that Clatterbuck was attentive to students' needs and hardly missed a school sporting event.

"He was a very highly respected gentleman," Wright said. "He was friendly with the students always."

Calvin Johanson was one of Clatterbuck's students at the school in the 1930s. Johanson said in an e-mail that Clatterbuck was a stern social-studies teacher but picked Johanson to help him grade papers during lunch recess.

"We always had good rapport. Whatever he taught, I listened and learned," Johanson wrote.

Clatterbuck was known nationally among deaf educators and recruited many into the field of teaching deaf students.

Salem resident Judy Weathers said Clatterbuck inspired her to pursue a master's degree in deaf education. Weathers worked under Clatterbuck as a counselor at the Oregon School for the Deaf while she was in college.

"It was because of him that I went into this area," Weathers said. "I owe this man a great deal in how my life went in the direction it took, even to this day."

Weathers' husband, Keith, who grew up with the Clatterbuck family, described Marvin Clatterbuck as a kind, disciplined and loving father who provided a model of integrity for both his public and private lives.

Clatterbuck's interest in deaf education stemmed from his childhood spent in Fulton, Mo., the hometown of the Missouri School for the Deaf, Gary Clatterbuck said.

Marvin Clatterbuck received an honorary doctorate signed by Lyndon B. Johnson from Gallaudet University, a national college for the deaf and hard of hearing, in Washington, D.C.

While teaching at the Oregon School for the Deaf, Clatterbuck met his wife, Margaret, a deaf educator. She died in 2003.

"He loved and enjoyed the school," Gary said. "We lived on campus. In those days, it was basically a 24-hour day job, in terms of his accessibility."

Gary Clatterbuck said his father came from the era that lacked unions in public education and that his father helped fill the void on his own.

"In this sort of Thanksgiving season, if there was an employee who didn't have a place to go, they'd have a place at our table," he said.

Besides serving as a missionary administrator in Ivory Coast, Marvin Clatterbuck was an active member of First Baptist Church of Salem for about 40 years. After moving to California, he also served as the business director of the Conservative Baptist Association of Northern California and served on the staff of Quail Lakes Baptist church in Stockton, Calif.

As a hobby, Clatterbuck enjoyed woodworking and crafted coffee tables for all of his children out of myrtle wood from the Oregon Coast, Gary Clatterbuck said.

Clatterbuck was living in Arroyo Grande, Calif., with his family at the time of his death.

Clatterbuck is survived by three sons, one daughter, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A graveside service for Marvin B. Clatterbuck is planned for Friday in Arroyo Grande, Calif. The family asks for memorials to go to Grace Bible Church in Arroyo Grande.

Return to Obituary Page

Home Page

Surname Index

Cemetery Index