Patricia Jean CLARKE

Obituary
  •  
    - Alan Clarke
  • "A wonderful parent to her children, of whom I am one. She..."
    - Donald Clarke
  • "Oh Pat: what a woman!! A particular memory of mine is when..."

CLARKE, Patricia Jean (nee CLARY) Born December 5, 1923, in San Francisco, died August 24, 2018, in Toronto. She was dearly loved and is mourned by her family: Hugh Clarke and Christine Gosselin of Montreal, Donald Clarke and Jingjing Jin of Washington, DC, Catherine Clarke of Toronto, Christine Clarke of New York, and Xiaoyang Clarke of New York. Pat earned her B.A. from Stanford University in 1944, majoring in journalism and serving on the Stanford Daily. After graduation, she worked the Hollywood beat for the United Press, living across the street from Mitzi Gaynor, taking her first airplane ride with Dick Powell, and attending one of Elizabeth Taylor's weddings. When she married Don Clarke (deceased 2004), a handsome young Canadian Navy Veteran getting his doctorate at CalTech, the event garnered a mention in Walter Winchell's column. After moving to Toronto, where Don had obtained a position as professor at the University of Toronto, Pat began working at the United Church Observer in 1965 as the Women's Editor, eventually serving as Associate Editor and then interim Editor/Publisher. Pat retired from full-time work at the Observer in 1980, and in the mid-1990s began editing the Letters section. There, she transformed the sometimes rambling missives that landed on her desk into succinct and sharply pointed contributions to issues of the day. This work, which she continued until just a month before her passing, won the Associated Church Press Award of Excellence in the Letters category in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Pat was engaged throughout her life with the world around her. Her travels both before and after retirement took her to five continents. Just in the last decade of her life, she visited places as diverse as China, Cambodia, the Galapagos (for the second time) and Iran, and went zip-lining in Costa Rica. She remained an avid reader and book club organizer and participant into the last month of her life. Pat was a wise and generous mentor to junior colleagues, a resourceful and unflappable partner to those who worked with her, and a caring and open-minded listener to her friends. All will miss the spirit of practical open-mindedness that she brought to everything she did and her sharp sense of humour. Friends are invited to a memorial service followed by a reception on Saturday, September 29th, at 4 p.m., at Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor St. West, Toronto. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Daily Bread Food Bank (dailybread.ca).
Published in the Toronto Star on Sept. 12, 2018