Arthur French Clarke II, 90, died in New London, NH on May 17, 2012 at his residence in Woodcrest Village Assisted Living.
He was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1922, to Hermann Frederick Clarke and Dorothy Johnson Clarke. He attended Dexter School and Rivers and later graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1941. He attended Union College and then worked for Esso for seven years, selling petroleum products out of Elizabeth, NJ and Northampton, MA. Arthur established Clarke’s Hardware in Barnstable, MA which he successfully ran until he relocated his family to New London, NH in 1972 where Clarke’s Hardware continues to this day. While living on Cape Cod, he served as chairman of the Barnstable Municipal Airport Commission which approved a second runway and lights for the airport in Hyannis during his tenure. He continued community activities in New London where he and Joan dedicated hours to fundraising activities, particularly in support of the New London Hospital.
In his youth, Arthur enjoyed summers on Cape Cod sailing from Wings Neck on Buzzards Bay and visiting friends in New Hampshire where he was introduced to the Live Free or Die state. In 1948, he married Joan Simpkins, a nursing school classmate of his youngest sister. Five children arrived over the next ten years. In 1962 he and Joan bought their first ski home in Greenfield, NH which they shared with many friends. His premise to “treat your family like guests and guests like family” was evident in the number of people who revolved in and out of the Clarkes’ home and where his children and grandchildren cherished their visits. Mickey Mouse waffles with pure NH maple syrup were often a favorite breakfast treat. Later, the Clarkes built a new ski house at the Slope ‘n Shore Club in New London.
Arthur’s creative vision was inexhaustible. He loved traveling, cooking, entertaining family and friends, designing unique homes and furniture, cultivating orchids, planting gardens, and particularly roses, which gave rise to the latest Woodcrest garden. Together with 6 climbing roses in multiple colors over three grand arches and various bushes, the garden he established in 2010 continues to grow and was dedicated in 2012 the Arthur Clarke Rose Garden by Bethany Brenner, Executive Director of Woodcrest Village. In 2011 perennials were added to the roses as well as a lilac tree. You are encouraged to spend time (this spring and summer) enjoying the blossoms – the fruits of his labors.
His family will fondly remember some of Pooh-Bah’s favorite sayings: He who dies with the most toys, wins! The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Que sera sera, what will be will be – the future’s not ours to see, and as he learned at Deerfield, “Finish Strong and Be Worthy of Your Heritage.” Loved for his honesty and unfettered opinions, Arthur made sure he had FUN and shared his humor and love for life with all who knew him. There aren’t many folks who have met Arthur who don’t have a story to share.
Arthur was predeceased in January 2006 by his wife, Joan Simpkins Clarke, his creative partner through love and life for 56 years. “Marrying Joanie was the best decision I ever made.” His three sisters, Barbara Hastings, Mary Elizabeth Beane, and Dorothea Leslie Wood also predeceased him. Family members include three daughters and sons-in-law Anne and Gordon Hunt of Mirror Lake, NH, Leezie and Sam Magruder of Newton, MA, Doffie and Steve Farrar of Amherst, NH and two sons and a daughter-in-law, Read Clarke of Newbury, NH, and Toby and Nancy Clarke, of Durham, NH; fourteen grandchildren: Alex Hunt, Will Magruder, Emily Hunt Esch, Liz Magruder, Abby Magruder, Tyler Clarke, Brooks Farrar DA‘06, Hannah Clarke, Jake Farrar, Terry Clarke, Galen Farrar, Abbey Clarke, Ned Clarke, and Charlotte Clarke; two great grandchildren, Drew and Paige Hunt; eight nieces and eight nephews.
A private memorial service for family members will be held in the next few months. Donations in his memory may be made to Woodcrest Village, 356 Main Street, New London, NH 03257; Deerfield Academy, 7 Boyden Lane, Deerfield, MA 01342; or New London Hospital, 273 County Road, New London, NH 03257. To leave an online condolence, please e-mail ClarkefamilyAFC@gmail.com