Reflections of a Life Well Lived
Alexander Clarke, Jr., age 100, has entered the nearing presence of God. A humble man faithful to God, cherished by family, and beloved throughout his community. Alexander, affectionately known to family and friends as “Brother, Alex, or Clarke,” was born on August 29, 1919, in the historic Bahamian settlement of Coconut Grove, in Miami, Florida. Alexander was the sixth of nine children born to the late Alexander Clarke and Amelia Agusta (Culmer) Clarke, both immigrants from Savannah Sound, located on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
As a young student, Alex was ambitious and developed love for science and learning. As a teenager, he possessed a particularly pleasing bass singing voice and at the urging of his family, was encouraged to sing at school and community events. Alex was a proud alum of Coconut Grove's historic George Washington Carver High School in Miami. Recently, he was acknowledged as the school’s Oldest Living Graduate of the Class of 1939. In 1940, Alex attended Florida A&M University, during this time he was drafted into the US Army in 1941.
Corporal Clarke served in World War II (1941-1945) under the Army’s Medical Corps as a Sanitation Tech. He served at several duty stations in Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, and in Pacific Theater on the Island of Guadalcanal. While stationed in Virginia, Corporal Clarke used his singing talent to bring joy to his fellow soldiers and the community. He performed with a local Gospel quartet on WKRV radio in Petersburg, VA. Corporal Clarke was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, the Army Defense Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
Moreover, his final tour was at Ft. Sam Houston, TX, where he met and married his cherished wife Evelyn Elizabeth Woodard. Together they raised their loving and devoted daughter, Alexis Katherine.
Alexander continued his scientific and educational aspirations: Associate of Arts, St. Philip’s College, San Antonio, TX (1946); Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Huston-Tillotson College, Austin, TX (1949); and Master of Arts in Education, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas (1954).
His life and career were dedicated in supporting and preparing his students to make sound life choices. He educated them to be productive citizens in their communities and encouraged them to cherish the act of learning as a life-long skill. His 30-year career began with the San Antonio Independent School District. He taught at Douglas Junior High School, then moved to James Whitcomb Riley (now Martin Luther King Middle School) for 16 years and retired from Lowell Middle School in 1984. He also taught botany as an Adjunct Professor at Texas Southern University. After his retirement, he continued to inspire and mentor young teachers and students.
Alexander was a "Cradle Episcopalian," he was baptized and confirmed at an early age, and his affiliation with the Episcopal Church is deeply rooted within his family. He served as a faithful member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church since 1945, in several capacities: Lay Reader, Vestry member, Choir member, and Diocesan Council Delegate or Alternate. Also, he was a founding member of the Artemisia Bowden “Holy Woman” Diocesan Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE). An enthusiastic bass singer, Alexander shared his gift with choral groups throughout the community: The Royal Knights, an all-male choral group, during the 1960s and 70s; St. Philip’s Church Choir; the Armstrong Community Chorale, to name a few.
Affiliations: The Alpha Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, Houston-Tillotson College in 1948; Master Mason of the Ancient Free Accepted Masons of America, B. M. Flowers Lodge, No. 1263; Huston-Tillotson University International Alumni Association; the Texas State Teachers Association; the San Antonio Area Retired Teachers Association, the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE), and KLRN Public Television.
Alex was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Evelyn, parents Alexander and Amelia (Culmer) Clarke, and siblings, Orie, Neville, Victoria, Cornelia, Nora, Anna, Rolland, and Ray (died in infancy).
Mourning his departure, yet cherishing sweet memories are Alexis K. Clarke Nicholson, his loving and devoted daughter; grandchildren LaShawna and Derrick; a very special niece, Gloria “Bey” Russell.
A host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends who were near and dear to his heart: Everette (Audrey) Thompson (nephew), of Fayetteville, Georgia, Janet Butler (niece) and Eric Albury (nephew), both of New York, NY, and Lorenzo (Doris) Jenkins (nephew) and family, of Centerville, Ohio, Sylvia (Gabriel) Grace (niece) and family of Sacramento, California, and Rev. Joyce M. Williams (niece) and family (Julia, Kathleen, Rena) of San Antonio, TX., Donald (Robin) Gray and family of Albany, Georgia.
Dr. Freddie Young (cousin) and John Williams; Grand-nephews: Kenneth Russell, Jr. and family; Keith (Arlene) Russell and Family (Christen and Renee), Kevin (Barbara) Russell and Family (Thania, Kay Shaya, and Jamilah), Kerry Russell and family (Warrell) and Kyle Russell.
Grand-nieces: Karen (Jake) Holmes (Talitha, Jacob), Kimberly (Emanuel) Guerrier (Shantae, Taylour) and family, Alita Thompson and family.
Grand-nieces and nephews from the Bahamas: Bob Thompson, Vera Thompson and family, Debbie (Gurney) Swaby Armstrong and Family, Mitzi Swaby, Crystal Thompson, Lillian Thompson, Beverly Archer, Karen Symonette and family, Peggy Archer (Glenda), Shelly Archer, Terry Archer and Perry Archer. And a host of other dear family and friends.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations in remembrance of Alexander Clarke, Jr. are appreciated: Family and friends are contributing to the Woodard-Clarke-Durvan Scholarship Fund, at St. Philip’s College, Office of Institutional Advancement, Woodard-Clarke-Durvan (WCD) Scholarship Fund, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, San Antonio Texas 78203-2098.
"If I can help somebody, then my living shall not be in vain."
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