Beatrice Ann Clack, born December 7, 1957, passed away peacefully on January 24, 2022. She was born to Russell and Virginia Pierce. Beatrice is survived by her son Billy Russell Clack, by her sisters Kathy Hartline and Virginia Hayes, and by her brother David Pierce. The cause of death was septic shock caused by a severe infection.
Bea was born in Beaumont, TX, and her family moved to Plano, TX when she was 13. She attended Plano Senior High School. She received her B.S. in biochemistry at Texas A&M University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology at University of Texas Dallas. She did a post-doctoral fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Beatrice joined the faculty at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX in 1996 as a professor.
While at SFA, Bea was instrumental in helping to grow the Division of Biotechnology and the Science Research Center. She collaborated with researchers both from the United States and around the world. One area of her research included working with researchers in Syria to study the Sunn pest to help discover new methods for managing celiac disease as well as to find ways to prevent major wheat crop shortages. She published a multitude of papers and received numerous awards throughout her career. Bea mentored, taught, and conducted research with countless students over the past 25 years. Many of her students are now professionals and teachers themselves using the techniques and compassion they learned from Dr. Clack.
Bea’s family was where her heart truly was. Bea was happily married to her husband Johnnie Clack for 39 years after meeting at a subway sandwich shop he managed in Plano, TX. Four years before her husband’s death, he became debilitated from Large B-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Beatrice stood by his side every day, from three months in the hospital to years of rehabilitation at home. Bea was his advocate wherever he went and refused to leave his side for any long period of time to make sure he was being taken care of properly. There was nothing but love between them. She was a constant presence in her immediate and extended family and was always just a call away if anyone needed anything. Bea attended every musical recital, sporting event, and detention call for her son throughout his life. She was one of the sweetest people you would ever meet and never held back showing her love and support for everyone who crossed her path.
Bea was full of generosity and love for her students and is often regarded as a second mother by many, often going out of her way to provide her students with whatever assistance they needed both inside and outside of school. She tried to be a part of their lives, encouraging them through difficult times while she helped them grow in their careers. Many of her students were international students who had just moved to America, and Dr. Clack would always take them under her wing and make them feel safe and supported as they acclimated to a completely new environment.
Bea’s generosity and love for animals was unmatched. She had rescued and taken care of almost any type of animal you could imagine - horses, cows, dogs, tarantulas, cats, snakes, turtles, birds, and even a skunk. She had a certain connection to her animals and frequently could be heard having conversations with them when no one was looking. Bea loved going to dog shows and showed her own dogs many times throughout the years. She had a special fondness for a particular breed of dog known as a Bouvier des Flandres and had given a home to many throughout her life.
Beatrice loved music and played the cello her entire life. She had a fondness for classical music and cinematic musicals, especially The Wizard of Oz.
A celebration of life will be held on March 19, 2022, Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Home, 5400 North Street, Nacogdoches, Texas 75965. This date is subject to change. Please check Cason Monk-Metcalf’s website for updates.