On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, our Dad died at home in Stratford, Ontario.
Peter Alexander Clarke really was something and the world is a better place because of him. Dad embodied dignity; rarely has there been such a father, husband, grandfather, brother, son and friend. He showed us, over and over again, that it is not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you handle it. And he handled it all with dignity.
Dad was married to Mom, Gerry, for almost 60 years. He devoted his life to her and, when she died just two months ago, he knew his job had been well done. When he was confident that his loved ones were going to be fine he died peacefully, with family by his side. Cathy (Sandy), Linda (James), and John (Danita) wish him well on his journey. His grandkids: Noah, Kristen, Megan and Keigan, are grateful for the years they knew him and for the strengths and love he gave them.
Dad was the second brother in his family. The Clarke Boys, Al, Frank, and Phil, will miss him more than words can say.
When young, Dad trained as a machinist in the Moncton Shops of the CNR. He left to study engineering at Dalhousie University and pursued further studies at the London School of Economics, as an Athlone Scholar. He finished his work with the CNR almost 40 years later in senior management in Montreal.
During his career, Dad and the family moved across the country and back: he loved Canada and its many regions.
His determination served him well as he rebuilt his life after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 58. He did a splendid job. In the years that followed the stroke, he became an artist. He built thousands of pieces of art: dollhouses and furniture and whimsical birdhouses and he painted hundreds of paintings. Friends and family far and wide have pieces of his work. He often said that painting helped him find meaning in his life and gave him pleasure as he grew older.
Through all of the challenges faced by Dad, his faith in God was strong. It was unwavering, right to the end. He taught us, and anyone who knew him, that with enough thought and hard work any mountain could be climbed. Dad walked when he was told he couldn’t, he talked when he was told his words had been lost. He relished time with his friends and loved laughter and conversation. He was interested in the world and its people and built home wherever he went.
Dad loved the journey. He and Mom drove so many miles together, they could have circled the globe (and he would have, if it had been possible.) He was a man of great commitment and drive to succeed. As a friend, he was generous and kind. He showed us how we have chances, over and over again, to build the community around us, one relationship at a time. For him, common sense told him we always have to move forward, to do better. Moments of redemption are possible, change is always going to come.
We are all better people because of him.
We miss Dad fiercely. He was 85 years old.
“Good morning, Old Man.”
“Yeah, you’re as old as the trees, Dad,”
“Love you, Dad.”
Memorial donations may be made to the Ontario Heart & Stroke Foundation.
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