Biographical Sketch of Dr. Calvin Bowden Stark

February 27, 1867 – February 25, 1938


Calvin Bowden Stark was born in what was then known as Van Buren county, Arkansas. In 1883 a new county was formed and was the last of Arkansas’s 75 counties, Cleburne county. He was the second son and third child born to the farming family of John Whit and Mary Thomas McMorris Stark.

Calvin received his medical education from the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences campus in Little Rock, graduating in the 16 member class of 1890. In 1891 Calvin and Laura Maude White were married in Cleburne county. This marriage produced four sons and lasted until Maud’s passing in 1902. In the 1900 census Calvin was practicing medicine in Shiloh, Cleburne county. Calvin and Lelia Roper were married in Falls, Texas on April 5, 1904. In the 1906 American Medical Directory Calvin is listed as practicing in Sidon, White county and in the  1910 census his address is listed as Giles, Cleburne county. The 1911 American Medical Directory lists a Shiloh address and the 1914 AMD and 1920 census have a Heber Springs, Cleburne county address. On December 21, 1919 Calvin married Ollie Heister.

Calvin died at home at Shiloh early Saturday morning, February 25, 1938 following an illness of some time. Dr. Stark had practiced medicine in Cleburne county for 49 years. As stated in his obituary “Dr. Stark was prominent in the early development of this section, and was well known throughout the entire county.” Prior to his death he had written a poem vividly describing his experiences as a country doctor:

“For forty-nine years

I have ridden hard and drove

Through hailstorms and rains

Cold winds and deep snows.

With cold aching hands

And frost-bitten feet

I have gone on my duty

While others would sleep.

Crossed deep streams alone

The darkest of nights

When not one little star

Could loan me a light.

In my earlier days

Far back in the hills

I have heard panther screams

And the roaming wolves howls.

But I never feared

Any path that I trod

I trusted my life

To my horse and My God

I’ve made long lonely calls

Many thousands of times

When I knew that the paper

Was not worth a dime

But yet I plod on

For down that lonesome way,

Some poor mother’s darling

Might not live ‘till day.

Did I endure all of this

For personal gain?

No! Twas for the relief

Of my fellow man’s pain.

The most benevolent calling

God left up to man

Was the study and relief

Of human pain.

But I realize now

That my work’s about done

That I’m soon to pass

To the great beyond.

With my labors all finished

And golden shieves bound

I will cross that last river

And receive my crown.

There my loved ones I’ll meet

Who before me have gone

And others I will greet

As they come one by one

And when you arrive

In that land of the Blessed

You will find Old Dad

Taking a long sweet rest.”


John T. Mitchell, BBA

May 15, 2021