Ed was born as the only child to E. "Harold" Clarke and his wife, Rose (nee Donnellon) in Avoca, Pennsylvania, on July 30, 1920. His wife, Leocadia (nee Kielceski), who grew up in Montrose, Pennsylvania, passed away in 2002. He is survived by his son, Tom, who lives with his wife, Julie in Portland, Oregon, as well as his granddaughter, Courtney; and three great-grandchildren.
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Ed grew up in Pittston, Pennsylvania, where he attended St. John's High School. At St. John's, his love of music was born and he was skilled enough to join the professional musician's union when he was 14 years old. He would go on to play the trombone and bass fiddle professionally until he was into his eighties.
Ed volunteered to join the Army during World War II in 1941. He was assigned the role of radar technician and served in the Eighth Air Force stationed in the southwest of England. While there, his musical prowess was identified and he was commissioned to organize a dance band that subsequently entertained at 140 air bases throughout the course of the war. His band was so popular and good for morale that his commander had a private phone installed at his work bench to book jobs.
He was married to Leocadia ("Lee") in 1948, and moved with her and their son, Tom, to Albany, New York, in 1951. He pursued a career as a salesman in wholesale appliance distribution, which continued until his retirement in 1982. He was a member of the Albany Symphony and played at thousands of events around the Albany area as a member of various dance bands. Ed also found time to be the director for CYO baseball and provided great memories for thousands of boys at Our Lady of Mercy parish in Albany from 1960-1980.
All who knew Ed would affirm that he was an entertainer at heart, who was at his happiest when people around him were enjoying themselves. He led a full life; he was a bat boy for Babe Ruth, and played in bands for great musicians like Tommy Dorsey and Tony Bennett. Ed was a man of action even in retirement, as he and Lee spent enjoyable time visiting and traveling with friends and family.
In 2004, Ed moved to Portland to be close to his son and family. He died peacefully at his home on June 7, 2013. A memorial service will be held on June 29 at 11 a.m. at the Holy Name of Mary Church in Montrose, Pennsylvania.
Published in Scranton Times on June 16, 2013