Sunday, December 21, 2003

Kenneth E. Clarke, priest


Episcopalian helped develop retirement homes

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Rev. Canon Kenneth E. Clarke, who died Friday at Christ Hospital, was a renaissance man. The 81-year-old Hyde Park resident was an Episcopal priest, a retirement home administrator, writer, teacher, athlete and traveler.

"Dad had a very strong commitment to family and friends and a passionate and inquiring spirit," said his son, James V. of Bloomfield, Mich. "At 81, Dad stayed very active with holistic medicine, spiritual growth and outreach."

Born in Wilmington, Del., he was educated at the Sewanee, the University of the South in Tennessee.

In 1947, he was ordained a priest and served as curate at the Cathedral of St. John in Wilmington. He served as rector for four years at St. Anne's and associate master of St. Andrew's for Boys, both in Middletown, Del.

In 1952, Rev. Clarke and his first wife, Amelia (now deceased), moved to Cincinnati where he became rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Terrace Park. During his 16-year tenure, the congregation tripled in size and a new chancel, sanctuary and educational building were built. He helped establish Interparish Ministries to serve the poor.

Rev. Clarke became the executive director of the Marjorie P. Lee Rest Home and director of research and development of Memorial Homes Foundation (now Episcopal Retirement Homes) in 1968.

He also established similar facilities in Columbus and Dayton and oversaw the purchase and renovation of properties now known as the Deupree Community in Oakley.

Rev. Clarke retired as president and CEO of the Episcopal Retirement Homes in 1985 but remained active in his later years.

He played tennis each week, and with his second wife, Marsha McSpadden Clarke, enjoyed traveling to Europe and Israel.

In addition to his wife, other survivors include three daughters, Ann Clarke Wenk, Elizabeth B. Clarke and Martha Sill Carter, all of Long Island, N.Y.; a stepson, Lt. Col. Martin Huggord of Kansas City, Mo; a stepdaughter, Rachel Wetherall of London, England; a brother, Vincent Robert Clarke of Wilmington, Del; and 13 grandchildren.

The funeral service will be held 4 p.m. Monday at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 100 Miami Avenue, Terrace Park. Memorials: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 100 Miami Ave., Terrace Park, OH 45174-1175 or Hyde Park Center for Older Adults, 2800 Erie Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208-2317.

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E-mail kandrew@enquirer.com




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