James “Jim” P. Clarke
Mr. James Patrick Clarke passed away Monday, March 11, 2019 at the age of 86 in his home in Clark, NJ. His two daughters were by his side as he listened via FaceTime to his grandson playing the piano, while his granddaughter sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Just after the song ended, Jim transitioned peacefully.
Jim Clarke was predeceased by his beloved wife, Patricia Clarke in 2007, by their son James Clarke in 2016, and their daughter, Maryellen Clarke in 1960. He was one of four children and was predeceased by his brother Raymond Clarke and his sister Marie Gillespie. He is survived by his brother, Rt. Rev. Brian Clarke, OSB; his loving daughters, Catherine Clarke Maguire and her husband, Edward; Maureen Clarke Wooster and her husband, Scott; his daughter-in-law Jane Randall Clarke and by his seven grandchildren, Megan Maguire, Michael Maguire, Laura Clarke, Peter Clarke, Elizabeth Wooster, Kathleen Wooster, and Sean Wooster.
Born in Newark to Patrick and Catherine Carolan Clarke, who were Irish immigrants, Jim graduated from St. Charles Borromeo High School, where he met his wife Patricia.
Following his conscription with the United States Army, Jim began his career with the Newark Fire Department. While employed there, he worked part-time driving a delivery truck for his friend Pet Keelan’s reused corrugated box company. He served as a firefighter for Engine 19 on Frelinghuysen Ave. and was promoted to captain in 1974. After many years of actively fighting fires, he transferred to managing fire equipment in the Special Services Dept., following a heart attack which he experienced after carrying a woman to safety from a burning apartment building. James retired in 1995. He was later diagnosed with career-related COPD.
Jim loved helping others. A devout Catholic, he was an involved member of Sacred Heart Vailsburg parish in Newark, where he performed in many parish musicals. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
After moving to Clark in 1982, Jim became an active parishioner of St. Helen’s Church in Westfield, where he served as a Eucharistic minister, past president of the parish council and member of the hospitality committee. For many years, until he reluctantly had to give up driving, Jim picked up extra bread from local supermarkets every week and delivered it to St. Joseph’s food pantry in Elizabeth. He also cooked for the soup kitchen there.
As a young man, Jim played on a Newark baseball team, The Shamrocks and ran track. He liked fixing cars for friends and neighbors. He later enjoyed woodworking, “card club”, walking every Wednesday with long-time friends, and watching baseball games. He enjoyed many trips to Ireland with his wife Patsy, brother-in-law Bart Carroll, his sister-in-law “Cis” Catherine Carroll, and his brother Abbot Brian. The Clarke and Carroll families spent many fun-filled summers together at the shore in Lavallette. Jim also enjoyed trips to Disney with his children and grandchildren. More recently, he enjoyed the companionship of his caretakers, and the family would like to thank them for their dedication and caring.
Friends and family may visit between 3 and 7 pm Sunday, March 17th at the Dooley Colonial Home, 556 Westfield Avenue in Westfield NJ. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10 am Monday, March18th at St. Helen’s Church, 1600 Rahway Ave. in Westfield. Burial will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution in Jim’s name to: St. Joseph Social Service Center, 118 Division St. Elizabeth, NJ 07201-2736