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Ch. 7 anchor Stephen Clark signs off

The Detroit News

After 40 years in TV news, Stephen Clark has signed off.

The WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) anchor gave his last broadcast at the station on Wednesday night before retiring.

Clark announced in December that he would end his on-air career, intent on spending more time with relatives — including granddaughter Scarlet, who has spinal muscular atrophy.

He reiterated that during his send-off with colleagues Carolyn Clifford, Brad Galli and Dave Rexroth, highlighting plans to raise $1 million to build a playground in Oakland County for children of all abilities and disabilities through the nonprofit Scarlet’s Smile Foundation.

Clark, who lives part-time in Nashville and has performed with his guitar at various gigs, also plans on pursuing a song publishing deal.

“I’m not looking to get out on the stage. Nashville, the whole entertainment industry — nobody’s looking for a 62-year-old guy. That’s just not going to happen, and I know that,” he said Wednesday. “But I can still write songs and I can write songs that can be sung by the 20, 30-somethings that are the stars.”

Before Clark signed off with a song, his colleagues displayed photos and aired a retrospective of the newsman’s career, which included stints in Colorado, California and New York, covering conflicts overseas and becoming involved in a town hall that President Bill Clinton convened in the 1990s.

“For me, it was all about hard work,” he said in the clip. “I said: ‘There are a lot of people out there better than me, but there is nobody who will outwork me.’ ”

Joining WXYZ in 2001, Clark became a familiar face at the North American International Auto Show, Woodward Dream Cruise and other high-profile events. But his favorite story, he said, was the Motor City’s comeback.

“It’s a different Detroit than the one I drove into 16, 17 years ago,” he said.

Clark’s career and presence were celebrated by several staffers who taped well-wishes.

Clifford, his longtime co-anchor, referenced a line in the movie “Jerry Maguire” to describe their on-screen bond. “He always completed me,” she said.