Obituary of Alfred Roger Clarke
ROCHESTER – Alfred Roger Clarke (“A. Roger”) passed away peacefully at age 99 on April 19, 2018. He is predeceased by his mother (Mary Rodgers) and father (Alfred Clarke); his first wife (Gay Churchill Symmes) and second wife (Jeanette Sargent). He is survived by his twin sisters, Grace Clarke and Stella Stewart; a special friend Joan Pinkney; four children Raven Lidman (Russ), Randall Clarke, Jordan Clarke (Valerie), Holly Clarke; two stepchildren Steve Sargent (Cathy), Susan Pomponio (Tom); grandchildren Shane Lidman (Lisa), Hannah Lidman (Dan Shiovitz), Chelsea Clarke; step grandchildren Mark Pomponio, Sarah McKeon (Mike), Evan Sargent (Rachel); great grandchildren Max Lidman, Ezra & Elias Shiovitz; Joseph & Ayden Pomponio and Quinn Sargent.
Roger grew up in New York City, the son of immigrants (his mother was Scottish and his father an English butler). He got to spend summers by the ocean when his father’s employer brought the family out to Southampton (L.I.) for the summer. He earned scholarships to attend prep school, Middlebury College and Cornell Law School where he met his first wife, Gay. He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII from 1942 to 1945, escorting convoys to South America as the Engineering Officer of the PY 13 U.S.S. Siren and later guarding New York Harbor as Captain of the YP 175.
After the war, he relocated to Webster to raise a family (four kids), practice law (in private practice and as Webster Town attorney), sell real estate, get into politics and create a family hobby by forming Clarke’s Quarter Horse Ranch. He became a “cowboy” and traded horses, sold tack and learned to ride with his children and all the neighborhood kids.
He was a Shriner and a founding member and officer of the Webster Lions Club (1950). Active in local politics, he was instrumental in getting the Democrats elected to govern the Town of Webster from 1953 to1963. He also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1950 and for New York State Assembly in 1960.
In the 1970s, he met his second wife, Jeanette. They enjoyed traveling, antiquing and golfing (at Oak Hill Country Club) which became a life-long pastime. They fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard along with his stepchildren. Roger vacationed there for the next 40 years where he loved to fish.
He made friends easily, was a great story teller (often about his Naval experiences) and loved being around people. He also taught a course at the Rochester Athenaeum on the Supreme Court.
Later in life, two of his greatest passions were writing and reciting his poetry at any opportunity. He leaves behind many volumes of poetry
He had a wonderful sense of humor and an unflagging optimism. We shall all miss him greatly.
In lieu of flowers donations may be given to the Martha's Vineyard Conservation Society (donatenow.networkforgood.org/vineyardconservation), or a charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 16 at 1pm at the Rochester Friends Meeting House, 84 Scio Street, entrance on Charlotte St. (Garage parking on Scio St.) (Please no “thin, high-heels” to preserve flooring.) Remembrances, photos, etc. can be posted on this site.