Clair D. Markey died June 20, 2012, at 7:14 p.m. in Peoria, Ariz. He was born in Tobias, Neb., on April 6, 1936. He had been battling Alzheimer's for several years and was suddenly taken from us by an embolism. Clair grew up on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Wash.
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He attended St. Joseph Elementary School, Seattle Prep and Seattle University, where he played basketball. He was a graduate assistant coach in 1963 at Seattle U. and took over as head coach for the last half of the season when the previous coach quit.
Clair had a love from afar for Alaska and moved to Juneau in 1965 to work on the Federal Building as a mason. He stayed and got a teaching position and later coaching position at Juneau Douglas High, where he coached from 1968 to 1970. The team won the state championship in 1969.
He moved to Fairbanks as basketball coach for Lathrop High School from 1971 to 1976 and led them to a state championship in 1972. He loved the game and especially teaching the game; his teams were famous for their up-tempo, fast-breaking style along with a pressing defense.
He coached two years at Tacoma Community College, returned to Alaska and coached a year at Wrangell High School. In the early 1980s, Clair coached in the professional Continental Basketball Association. His team, the Northern Knights, was based out of Anchorage. He later started a basketball program at the University of Alaska Southeast, recruiting players from as far away as Saginaw, Mich., and extending south to Florida. The university, because of funding issues, discontinued the competitive athletics.
Clair later went to Barrow High School as a teacher and basketball coach. He retired from teaching and coaching in 1996 with the distinction of having coached at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. He and his wife, Brenda, continued to reside in Juneau after his retirement, and he helped for as long as he could with the local summer basketball camps.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Brenda Markey, and his 102-year-old mother, Jane Cantrell. He also is survived by four adult children, Stephen A. Markey of Boulder Creek, Calif., Bruce Markey of San Diego, Calif., Chris Markey of Las Vegas, Nev., and Tiffany Markey of Seattle, Wash. He was preceded in death by his father, Denis Markey.
Clair touched many lives and will be held in fond memory by all who knew him. No services are planned.
Published in Daily News-Miner on June 26, 2012