Clark’s stepbrother surprised about family tie

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Kennard Clark learned to his surprise that he has a stepbrother, and the guy’s running for president.

The 71-year-old surgeon in Arlington, Texas, said his father disappeared shortly after Kennard graduated from high school in 1950. Unbeknownst to Kennard, Victor Clark was married again by 1954 and living with his wife and her son, Wesley, in Little Rock, where Kennard went to school until 10th grade.

Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme commander and current Democratic candidate for president, said he knew that his stepfather, whose name he took and who adopted him, had had a previous family that had included a son. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday that Kennard didn’t know about his stepbrother until the paper told him.

Wesley Clark, 58, recalled being told by his stepfather of Kennard and that his mother lamenting that Victor had let the child get out of his life. Victor Clark died in 1992, when Wesley was a major general stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

Kennard was acknowledged in his father’s will, which left the son his “love and affection.” Wesley Clark inherited with the estate a parcel in rural Arkansas where both boys spent summers.

Clark was born Wesley Kanne in Chicago on Dec. 23, 1944, to Benjamin Kanne of Chicago and the former Veneta Updegraf of Little Rock. His father died when he was 4, and his mother returned to Arkansas. In 1954, she remarried, to Victor Clark. The elder Clark, who had family roots in Berryville, Ark., worked for the Federal Reserve for 20 years, starting as a clerk in 1925. He married Mary Williams of Washington, Ark., and Kennard was born in 1932. Kennard said he went to school in Little Rock through 10th grade, then moved with the family to Dallas.

After Victor left, he never called or wrote, Kennard said.

Kennard’s mother died in 1983. Wesley’s mother died in 1986.

The men say they want to meet but haven’t set a time or place. “I wouldn’t want it to be a public thing, but I would like to talk to him about Dad,” Kennard Clark said.

“I’d like to meet him, too,” Wesley Clark said.