CLARKE – Phyllis Madeline Clarke


    Clarke – Phyllis Madeline Clarke passed away at age 94 of post-surgical complications at the Medicine Hat Hospital on Dec.19, 2018.Phyllis was born at home Feb.15,1924 possibly the youngest child, in the excitement no one knew if she or twin brother Archie came first. Her parents Alexander Peever and Sarah Edwards were homesteading pioneers, near Acme, Alberta circa 1903-05. They had 10 children, 8 surviving to adulthood. Phyllis was an exceptional scholar and a fine athlete fiercely competitive thanks to her brawling siblings. The depression hit their world hard. She remembered them shooting calves as it wasn’t worth raising them or finding chores for hobos off the rails grateful for home made bread, milk and hardboiled eggs. She earned money cooking for threshing crews which she used to attend the Richardson School of Business and got clerical employ however she had met a snappy dressing sophisticate R.K. “Dick” Clarke. They were married in Calgary in 1945 seemingly a world away from fetching water from a pump, dust and outhouses. They moved to Brooks in 1946 and Dick started his own businesses after leaving the Dairy Pool. Local social life was rich with the Brooks Little Theatre, St. Alban’s Church Guild and Beta Sigma Phi, the Farmers Bonspiel and Pheasant Festival and many rollicking Bridge nights when the house  roared with laughter! They and chums Eddie and Zenith Hrdlicka were among the first to build a cabin at Kinbrook Island and Phyllis relived her youth without running water or indoor bathroom and kerosene lamps. Rustic charm was not something she pined for as she sat on the beach terrified because she couldn’t swim and her kids were hedonistic seals like their father. Although conditions gradually improved her swimming didn’t. Son David came along in 1952 and sisters Lee and Sandy followed in short order. As if 3 kids weren’t enough and unusual for the time, she worked as a legal secretary for several lawyers this in the days of carbon copies and no correctable type therefore her spelling became impeccable. She did income tax preparation for Bevan & Hutch for many years and later was a bookkeeper for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Phyllis loved her sports and kept a keen interest in boxing, golfing, tennis, curling and basketball. Football was only interesting for the Grey Cup parties and hockey lost its allure when her sharp elbowed brothers stopped playing. She was a very good and happy warrior on the golf greens and curling ice. A ravenous and voracious reader she was well versed and often cynical about world affairs and local contretemps. Phyllis was kind, resilient, willful, loving, gentle, stubborn and determined! She was predeceased by her parents and all of her siblings. She is survived by son David of Brooks, daughters Lee (Rick) of Cassils and Sandra (Mike) of Rainier, her beloved grandsons James Graham (Danielle), Kit Irwin (Kelly), Chad Graham and Chase Irwin (Lindsay) as well a burgeoning crowd of great grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held on Friday, December 28th at 2:00 PM from St. Alban’s Anglican Church. Rev. Ken Wells officiated. Interment followed at Brooks Cemetery. In memory of Phyllis, if friends desire, memorial tributes may be made to the Brooks Public Library, Box 1149, Brooks, Alberta   T1R 1B9.


    Cremation is entrusted to Smith Funeral Home Ltd. and Crematorium, Brooks.


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