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Born in Chicago in 1918, Homer Clark was raised in the Long Island suburbs of New York City. After high school he attended Amherst College, where he was an athlete-playing football, squash, and I think baseball too--as well as of course a good student. There he met the major influence in his intellectual life, Theodore Baird, who was the dominant academic figure at Amherst in those days. Baird was an English teacher, whose extraordinary freshman composition course opened the minds of generations of students. Baird and Homer hit it off, especially after they got into an argument in class. Homer asserted that he could smell fish in a stream; Baird thought this was incredible, and said so; Homer insisted, and together they visited a fish hatchery, where Baird realized his error. Homer and Baird became lifelong friends, corresponding for over fifty years. During his Amherst summers, or at least one of them, Homer accompanied one of his geology professors on researches in the West. They camped out much of the time, sometimes by trout streams, which gave Homer a taste of the life that was later to be his.