At 108, evangelist travels the world and stays on God's side

Otis Clark marked his 108th birthday on Feb. 13, 2011. - Mirror file photo
Otis Clark marked his 108th birthday on Feb. 13, 2011.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

Federal Way resident Otis Clark is considered the world’s oldest traveling evangelist.

Clark marked his 108th birthday Feb. 13. He is healthy and on the road, preaching in Houston, Texas, until mid-April.

Clark was born Feb. 13, 1903, in pre-statehood Oklahoma. A pivotal moment in his life was a conversion to Christianity at age 25 — while jailed in Los Angeles for selling bootleg whiskey during the Prohibition era. He had left Oklahoma after enduring the 1921 race riot in Tulsa, considered the worst race riot in U.S. history. The riot resulted in nearly $21 million worth of damage in today’s money. An estimated death toll ranges from 39 to 3,000 depending on whose report you read.

While in Los Angeles, Clark was heavily involved in the Azusa Street Mission and the first Pentecostal church in America. He was later given power of attorney to the Azusa mission. He also worked for movie stars Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Charlie Chaplin. Clark and his wife once lived in Joan Crawford’s home; he was the butler and she was the cook.

At the root of his longevity is clean living supplemented by a daily dose of Vitamin Church.

Each day, he walks without a cane and savors long soaks in the bathtub. Each day, he rests well and eats in moderation, avoiding sugar while sometimes indulging in a T-bone steak. According to his family, Clark takes no medications and has all his teeth except one, which he claimed was accidentally pulled by a dentist.

He still prays on his knees and reads the Bible every day, often for several hours.

“It makes your health better,” he said in 2010.

Clark’s ministries involve a lot of traveling. His journeys have included New York, Florida and Canada. He took his first mission trip to Africa at age 103, and a second trip at age 104.

“It keeps you busy,” he said. “You don’t lose too much time when you’re working for God.”

Along with daughter Dr. Gwyneth Williams and granddaughter the Rev. Star Williams, Clark came to the Federal Way area from Oklahoma about three years ago in order to spread the gospel. It was a calling the family answered together. They formerly led the Life Enrichment Evangelistic Epicenter service at the Federal Way Community Center.

To learn more about Otis Clark and family, visit


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates