Tempe Mortuary - Tempe
405 E Southern Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 967-1643
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Laurence Gordon Clarke

1923 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Laurence Gordon Clarke Obituary
Clarke, Laurence Gordon
92, of Mesa, AZ passed away on January 28, 2016. Laurence Gordon (Larry) Clarke of Tempe and Mesa, AZ passed away at age 92 on January 28, 2016. At his side were his good friends Robert Lang and Robert's family, who brought him companionship and care in his final months. Born February 8, 1923 in Denver CO he was the adopted child of Dr. Elwin Clarke and Mrs. Anna Clarke of Ft Morgan, CO and was raised as an only child. He served in the Army Air Force as a Bandsman during World War II and was stationed in France and Belgium. After separation from the service, he attended College in Berkeley and Oakland, CA earning a Masters in Music Theory and a California teaching credential. Larry was married to Mary Dolores Donohue in 1950, had one child (a son) and was widowed in 1956. He did not remarry and moved to Santa Rosa, CA where he raised his son.
While in Santa Rosa, he taught elementary school band for a number of years before joining the staff at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he taught Music Appreciation and Music Theory. After an early retirement in 1975, he traveled to Cheltenham, United Kingdom for 3 years and was active at the Tithe Barn. Returning to Santa Rosa and bored with retirement, he once again taught at Santa Rosa Junior College before retiring a second time and moving to Tempe, AZ in 1993. There he enjoyed living near and amongst the youth of Arizona State University sharing his love for music and education with the students and faculty, and attending the many concerts and performances held weekly on campus. Larry also shared his musical gift with his fellow seniors in the community (when he wasn't challenging them to a game of pool) by playing the piano at the local senior center during many dinners, lunches and center events.
While teaching was his living, his life's passion was playing, arranging and composing music. His instrument was the piano. The proudest accomplishment of his compositional career was an opera based on James Weldon Johnson's story of the Creation, "I'll Make Me a World", presented by the Santa Rosa Symphony. In addition to Robert Lang and his family, Larry is survived by his son, Jim Clarke of Martinez, CA. At Larry's request, no service or formal memorial will be held. Internment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. Tempe Mortuary, 405 E. Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ (602) 967-1643

Published in The Arizona Republic from Feb. 3 to Feb. 5, 2016
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