Keith V. Clarke was born on May 23, 1936 in Seattle, WA and passed away in his home on June 30, 2017, he was 81 years old and “100” in his heart.
Keith grew up among a large pioneering family on Mercer Island where his grandparents, Fred and Mabel Clarke, settled in 1908. He led a Tom Sawyer life on Mercer as the youngest of three children born to George Whittaker Clarke and Helen Louise Vinal, outliving his two siblings, Louise Clarke Lovsted and Whit Clarke. He swam, fished and explored the west side of Mercer Island and spent his summers cruising in Canadian waters on the family’s 50’ motor-sailing vessel, the Norwester, exploring the beauty and isolation of the area.
Keith attended Franklin High School, class of 1954. After graduating from the University of Washington in 1958, Keith married his college sweetheart, Patricia Colwell Howard in June of 1960 and had two daughters, Carolyn Elizabeth and Barbara Louise. After a brief stint in the army and a couple of years in law school, he settled into the insurance business, traveling all over Washington state, living in Spokane for a short time before returning to Mercer Island with his family to reside in a home near the High School. He would eventually return to the Clarke family property on the west side of Mercer Island in a house that he built with his second wife, Judith Anderson Warren, and settled in with her two children, Wendy and Stewart.
While living on Mercer Island, he was actively involved in the Seattle Tennis Club, the Blue Goose Insurance fraternity and the Kiwanis Club. He continued to spend summer vacations with his family “crewing” the Norwester, had a passion for books and journaled ever day which he would share snippets from to his family of events that happened 10, 20, or 30 years ago such as a family hike, Mt. St. Helens erupting or the fact that he had a banana for breakfast.
He moved from Mercer Island to Port Townsend with his third wife, Myra Unger Bezuk, and spent his remaining years in their home on the hill above the Port Townsend airport, walking North Beach, traveling, reading, and frequenting their favorite restaurants. He is survived by his wives, two daughters, six grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews from the Clarke/Vinal Clan.
He passed peacefully in his home and is with Jesus and “Millie the Pink” in heaven, singing his ditties from the deck of the Nor, exuberantly greeting everyone including the toaster and leaving his loved ones with a final blessing to “remember who we are and what we represent. “
There will be Family Services at Clarke Park on Mercer Island on August 27th, 12:30pm. In remembrance of Keith, take a walk, read a book or sing a song.