James Thomas Clarkson, a resident of Mercer Island for the last 47 years, passed peacefully on March 5th, 2019 in the arms of his family.
Born February 9, 1927 in East Rutherford, New Jersey to James and Maybelle Clarkson, he joins his wife Bonnie Lou, who passed away in 2015. Mentored by his high school math teacher and football coach, he was recruited along with some of his lifelong sandlot football buddies by an athletic recruiter from the University of Nevada – a move that changed his life. He received a scholarship to play football and basketball, graduated with a degree in civil engineering and met his wife of 67 years, Bonnie Lou Taylor.
Moving back to New Jersey, he and Bonnie were married only to be drafted into the Korean War conflict and stationed in Hawaii, a place they both loved and visited often. Ending up again on the East Coast, they started their family with the births of their two children, Dan and Bruce. Jim coached youth sports, earned a Masters in Engineering, joined the Shell Oil Company for the next 32 years and spent good times and holidays with the families of his childhood friends and relatives. These included the clans of Ken Sinofsky, his cousin Jack Clarkson and the Falicon/Elliots. Cape Cod, the Jersey Shore, Hawaii and visits to Bonnie’s family in Texas and California were cherished times for the Clarksons and never forgotten.
Somewhere along the line, Jim saw the light and, thanks to a Shell Oil transfer, moved back out West – first to the San Francisco Bay area in the late 60s and finally to Mercer Island in 1972. He and Bonnie had an elegant home alongside the MI Beach Club, where he found other outlets for his athleticism, playing tennis and swimming in the pool and Lake Washington. Jim cultivated many groups of friends, including his tennis, bridge and ethnic out-to-dinner groups, along with other lifelong friends from the Island and MIBC.
JT’s smile and humor will be missed, and his generosity of spirit, devotion to family and entertaining ways will live on forever. Jim leaves an inconsolable hole in the hearts of his two boys, Dan and Bruce, their wives Andrea and Julie, and his four granddaughters, Margaret Aurora, Carris, AnaLucia, Ariana and his favorite grandson Taylor.
In lieu of flowers, please send chocolates. Friends may also visit the family for a viewing at the Sunset Hills Funeral Home from 5:00 to 7:00 on Thursday, March 14th. Please share your memories of Jim on his online guest register at www.legacy.com and join us for a celebration of Jim’s life on Friday, March 15 at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Mercer Island at 12:00, with reception to follow at the Church.