George Preston Clarke was born on October 12, 1932, the third of five children. He was born at home in Beloit, Wisconsin in a small dwelling locally known as "the flats".
Born during the Great Depression, he grew up in modest means, then rose to create a comfortable and pleasant middle class life experience for himself and his family.
As a young man, George enjoyed playing sports and was a very talented baseball player. Some say he was good enough to play in college or even the big leagues, though he never pursued it. He graduated from a small school named Milton College in Milton, Wisconsin. He was able to complete his education in part due to the G.I. Bill.
He served two years in the Army and rose to the rank of Corporal. He served as part of the color guard and was trained during the Korean War, though he never saw action.
In 1961, instead of pursuing a position in the traditional workforce, he opted for a position in the Peace Corps. As part of his preparation, he attended the University of Pittsbugh and the University of California at Los Angeles for training. He was in one of the first groups sent overseas in the newly minted project led by Seargant Shriver. He was a teacher in schools in Arochukwu, Nigeria for 2 years.
Upon returning to the United States, he worked a series of government jobs including a food inspector and work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission where he inspected toys. His children supported his work in their own way.
His work as a food inspector took him to CIncinnati where he met his wife Gail. They remained together and married for over 50 years until she preceeded him in death in November, 2017.
They raised their family in CIncinnati, Ohio until his work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission took him to Philadelphia where they lived for two years. Their apartment was in a Jewish community even though the children attended private Catholic schools. He always kept a sense of humor.
He later obtained a job with the Food and Drug Administration as a Compliance Officer in the over-the-counter drug department which took the family to Maryland. In his work there, he reviewed applications for new drugs to be placed on the market. He kept this position for 36 years until he retired in 1995.
He enjoyed his retired years with his family, visiting siblings and enjoying visitors to the home of family and firends. He most enjoyed his family and the ever growing additions to it, of daughter and sons-in law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is survived by his children Olivia Collins-Ashby, Paul Clarke, Melanie Clarke and Edwin Clarke; son-in-law Haywood Ashby, daughter-in-law Mary Clarke; grandchildren Monique Shelton, Dallis Collins, Nicholas Collins, Grant Clarke, Sarah Clarke, Greyson Clarke, Rosemarie Clarke; granddaughter-in-law Samantha Collins and Tifanie Ascherl; grandson-in-law Clayton Shelton; great-grandchildren Dylan Shelton, Nevaeh Shelton, Shane Collins and Taylen Collins; siblings Roberta Foster and David Clarke, Sr.; brothers-in-law Paul Foster, Earnesto Shearer, Gus Johnson, and John Jones; sisters-in-law Geraldine Clarke, Fayanna Johnson, Lorraine Pullens, Judy Jones, Sandy Shearer, and a full host of nieces, nephews, and other family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife Gail Clarke, his brothers Edwin Clarke, Jr.and Franklin Clarke, his mother Ada Clarke, father Edwin Clarke, Sr. and his grandson Gabriel Clarke.
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United Negro College Fund
1805 7th Street, NW, Washington DC 20001