Bill passed away in Williamsburg, Virginia on Sunday June 4, 2023, in his 85th year.
Born in 1938 in Bowmanville, Ontario (Canada), Bill grew up the second youngest of five sisters and a brother (Colleen and Maria, predeceased by Pat, Nonie, Jacquie, and Gerry). His parents, Bill and Winona, were the driving forces in his life. His father instilled in him a most generous nature. His mother, a plumber’s wife who headed the Oshawa Liberal Riding Association and was a Catholic School Board member, insisted that her children obtain an education and pursue careers beyond their native Bowmanville and Oshawa, Ontario. Consequently, Bill found himself working summers in the Yukon, obtaining a Business degree at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and working for Johnson & Johnson for almost his entire career in such far-flung places as Boston, Peterborough (Ontario), Edinburgh (Scotland), and Fort Worth (Texas). Bill spent the last fifteen years of his career in Ft. Worth as president of Johnson & Johnson Medical Incorporated, where he was responsible for over five thousand employees as well for facilities in Texas, Mexico, and Malaysia.
It was a stroke of fortune that Bill met Joan, his wife of sixty years, while at university in Nova Scotia. Together they were blessed with three children, Billy (Karen), Ken (Anja) and Cleary (David), as well as four grandchildren (Jacquelyn, Ryan, Sarah, and Naomi). He was also deeply involved in the lives of his siblings and his nieces and nephews, to whom he is fondly known as Uncle Billy. Bill also became a member of the close-knit Penny family which he married into, becoming especially close to Joan’s baby sister Susan, whom he regarded as his own.
Bill was a consummately social person and found meaning in the many ties he maintained at numerous Clarke family reunions, which took place across Canada. He also forged a second family in his many friendships which he established in the workplace, with the nurses of the A.O.R.N., with his many golfing and tennis buddies, as well as with his colleagues on the numerous medical, public service, and charitable boards on which he served (e.g., on the Peterborough Catholic School and Hospital Boards, on the St. Francis Xavier University Board of Governors, at DeRoyal Industries and at Healthpoint/DFB Pharmaceuticals).
But perhaps Bill is best remembered as the genial host of many gatherings of family and friends at his and Joan’s home on Second Peninsula, near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, where he welcomed one and all with a hearty handshake and a winning smile, and over which a giant Canadian flag always flew. Like him, it was larger than life and symbolized a generous nature.
Like his parents, he has passed along to all who have known him the sense that life can be full of adventure, that excellence should always be pursued, but moreover that those who are close to you matter most. Bill leaves a tremendous hole in all our lives. He is irreplaceable.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, June 9th at 2:30PM at The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham (Old St. Bede) located at 520 Richmond Road Williamsburg, VA 23185. A reception dinner will follow mass at Ford’s Country Cub form 4PM – 7PM.
If you would like to make a contribution in his memory, please consider St. Francis Xavier University (https://www.stfx.ca/contact-stfx) or the American Operating Room Nurses’ Association Foundation (https://secure.qgiv.com/for/aorfou) (noting in the “My Donation Relates to This Campaign” section that your contribution is for the “Bill Clarke Endowment”).