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GEORGE FRANCIS CLARKE

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GEORGE FRANCIS CLARKE

George Francis Clarke, a man with a great sense of humor, strong business acumen, and enormous faith, died April 10, 2014.

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He was born in Ethan, S.D., on May 5, 1925.

A ladies' man by choice and by fate, George had many women in his life: his mother, four sisters, a wife, and four daughters. To all of them, he was a constant source of strength accompanied with an occasional display of feistiness.

George was a quintessential extrovert, a "true people person". He never knew a stranger, and was quick with his strong handshake and broad smile. Those attributes proved valuable in his 35 year career, employed as a salesman in Kansas City and ultimately, as Vice President and National Sales Manager of Diamond Tool and Horseshoe Company in Duluth. During his sales and marketing career, he claimed Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere" as his theme song. He covered a lot of ground in his 88 years of life, travelling to most of the 50 states, and attending several memorable events such as: the Olympic Games, the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby, the Calgary Stampede, and the Masters' Golf Tournament.

George joined the U.S. Navy at age 17 serving as a "Seabee" in World War II, stationed in Okinawa, Japan. When he returned home from the service, he graduated with an Economics degree from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. There he met his wife, Rosemary (Fleming) Clarke. They were married in 1955.

A fisherman, hunter, golfer and gardener, George loved the outdoors. He also loved food, especially Canadian shore lunches of fresh walleye pike, backyard banquets of grilled Lake Superior lake trout, and barbeque brisket and rib feasts in Kansas City. He made a mean pot of chili and the best beef stew in the world.

George was proudly patriotic as he deeply loved his country. He enjoyed sharing a recently learned joke, as well as quotes and words of inspiration. He loved learning and using new words. Quick to thank God for the smallest of blessings, he inspired others with his faith. For all those who knew him, he will be remembered for his kindness, wisdom, generosity, humor, and dignified acceptance of life's challenges

George was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Helen Clarke, his brother Tom, and two sisters: Sister Margaret Mary Clarke and Sister Francelle Clarke.

He is survived by his wife Rosemary, Olathe; two sisters, Roseanne Sachse, Leavenworth and Angela Johansen, Omaha; daughters Sharon Clarke, Overland Park; Patty Kleckner, Dallas; T.C. Thacker (Dan), Seattle; and Pauly Hart (Jeff), Leawood. He dearly loved his 11 grandchildren: Tim, Peter, Jeff, and Paul Madison; Stephen, Dan and Erica Kleckner; Shannon and Ben Thacker; and George and John Hart.

Contributions can be made to the Catholic Education Foundation or the Wounded Warrior Project.

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