Clark Crespi, a longtime Baldwin teacher and wrestling coach who was loved and respected by many, died March 18 of complications of Parkinson’s disease and neuropathy. He was 77.
Crespi, of West Babylon, was born Feb. 1, 1944, in New York City to Bette and Chris Crespi.
He attended Seaford High School, but graduated from Rondout Valley High School. He went on to earn a bachelor’s in math education from SUNY Brockport in 1965, followed by a master’s from Queens College.
Soon after, he began his 35-year career as a math teacher and assistant varsity wrestling coach, as well as the middle school track and field and football coach in the Baldwin School District.
“He was an award-winning middle school math teacher who was beloved by many generations of students, and he was known for his sense of humor and sometimes crazy antics in the classroom, but most of all, as one of the best teachers they ever had,” said his son, Clark Crespi Jr., of West Babylon. “He was well respected in the athletic community on Long Island, and he received many awards over the years.”
Crespi led Baldwin wrestlers to individual and team league, county and state championships, including 30 Nassau County championships and four New York state championships. In January 2020 he was honored by the Baldwin Athletic Department with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
“He was honored for the tremendous commitment, support, guidance and heart he gave to his athletes, who acknowledged the indelible impact he made on their lives, and mentoring these athletes was my father’s passion,” Crespi Jr. said.
Michael Robinson, the wrestling coach at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, who graduated from Baldwin High School in 1987, said he knew Crespi for more than 10 years, and that he was his middle school math teacher.
Throughout his time at Baldwin schools, Robinson said, Crespi had a major impact on his academic development. “Crespi was a great teacher who had a great influence on my learning experiences, and he helped me learn math well in my earlier stages of learning,” he said. “Crespi always watched out for me and made sure I was doing the right thing to balance school and being an athlete.”
Clark was married to Carol Scurti, of Massapequa, for 53 years. They met at SUNY Brockport, where she majored in elementary education. They married in September 1967 and settled first in Massapequa, and then in West Babylon, where they lived with their family of four children for almost 50 years.
“She was the light of his life, and she was his rock,” Crespi Jr. said. “My father was devoted to his immediate and extended family.”
In addition to his wife and son, Crespi is survived by his other children, Nicole Crespi and her partner, Jim Glynn; Paul Crespi and his wife, Rebecca (Saravay), and Erica Crespi and her husband, Jesse Brunner.
He is also survived by four grandchildren, Julianna and Jemma Crespi, and Henry and Celia Brunner; a sister, Cindy Schmid, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, M. Chris Crespi; mother, Bette Crespi; sister, Sarina Morelli; brother, Robert Crespi; father-in-law, Henry Scurti, and mother-in-law, Mary Scurti.