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Slain corrections officer laid to rest
Robert Clark killed at Glennville prison
Robert Clark funeral
An honor guard from the Department of Corrections folds the flag to present to Officer Robert Clark's mother in front of St. Stephen First Martyr Catholic Church in Hinesville. (PAT DONAHUE/Coastal Courier)

When the family of Robert Clark talked to Father Adam Kasela, the first words they said were, “he loved,” followed by the object of his affection and attention.

Father Kasela, parish priest at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Hinesville, delivered the homily Friday afternoon at Clark’s funeral Mass. Clark, a corrections officer at Smith State Prison in Glennville, died after he was stabbed by an inmate using a homemade weapon. Clark, 42, died from his wounds after he was rushed to a nearby hospital.

At St. Stephen Friday, dozens of law enforcement officers from several different agencies, counties and states stood at attention as Clark’s casket was delivered to the church on a horse-drawn carriage. 

Robert Clark funeral
A horse-drawn hearse carries the body of Robert Clark during a funeral procession in Hinesville for the corrections officer who was killed last week in the line of duty at Smith State Prison in Glennville. The ladder trucks suspending the flag over Highway 84 were from the Hinesville Fire Department and the Walthourville Fire Department. (PAT DONAHUE/Coastal Courier)

“Today, we’re here to comfort you, to dry your tears,” Father Kasela said to Clark’s family during his homily.  “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and the senseless way in which Robert passed.” 

Father Kasela said the measure of his man is not his wealth or his power but “his integrity, his fellowship and his ability to affect those around him positively. Officer Robert Clark was such a man.”

As part of the Mass, the first reading came from Ecclesiastes, and Father Kasela noted that passage shows there is a proper time for everything. The responsorial psalm was the 23rd Psalm, and the second reading was a letter from Paul to the Corinthians. 

The gospel reading came from sermon on the mount.

“St. Matthew tells us we should be glad and rejoice, because there is a great reward in heaven,” Father Kasela said. 

Robert Clark
Robert Clark

Father Kasela also noted Clark’s love for animals and for his family. He also beseeched St. Michael, the patron saint of peace officers.

“Protect them, as they protect us,” he said.

An honor guard from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office delivered a 21-gun salute, and the Georgia State Patrol provided a flyover from three of its helicopters as the services came to a close. 

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Clark began working as a state corrections officer six months ago.  He was escorting two prisoners, Marko Willingham and Layton Lester, at Smith State Prison when Lester attacked Clark, according to the state Department of Corrections. Willingham stepped in to help Clark, and Lester attacked him as well. Willingham was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Lester is serving a life sentence for a murder conviction stemming from a 2007 killing and armed robbery in Tift County. He was transferred last week to the DoC’s Special Management Unit in Jackson.

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