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Ron Clarke of Paradise Valley, Arizona, aged 88, went to be with the Lord on May 31st, 2022 at home surrounded by family.
Ron was born to Stanley and Lucille Clarke in the Chicago suburb of LaGrange Park, Illinois. Following his upbringing in Illinois, Ron moved to Michigan where he attended the University of Michigan, earning degrees in both economics and psychology. While attending the university, Ron spent a great deal of time with his fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji). Upon graduation, Ron was awarded the commission of Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. He immediately began working at Cadillac in Detroit in product sales development. While there he attended the General Motors Institute, earning a degree in industrial engineering. At last, the Air Force came calling, and Ron completed a three-year tour of duty in the Strategic Air Command, flying tankers on 24/7 alert during the peak of the Cold War. Rather than returning to Cadillac, Ron joined IBM during its initial development of small commercial computing. He and his team established the IBM Training Centre in New Delhi, India. After moving nine times in his ten years at IBM, Ron settled in Phoenix working as an Arizona Computer Sales Manager. Often joking that IBM stood for “I’ve Been Moved,” Ron began a career in commercial real estate investment with CB Richard Ellis which lasted 29 years. Around this time, Ron, along with a handful of others, brought the BMW, Porsche, and Audi marque to Arizona–a hobby that would continue for the rest of his life. Other hobbies he enjoyed with his family included competitively racing catamarans in the summer and skiing at the condo in Durango in the winter, creating memories that will be cherished forever. Ron began serving the Town of Paradise Valley after being appointed to the Planning Commission by the Town Council. He would later go on to become the chairman of the Planning Commission, elected to the Town Council, and eventually be chosen as mayor. Under his leadership, many improvements were made to the town including an all-new fire service which improved emergency response times throughout the Town, building the south-Tatum/McDonald curve to improve traffic flow, and adopting Bay St. Louis, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina and providing them with used equipment including patrol cars and electronic gear. Among many other projects, one which has sustained is the Veteran’s Appreciation Vintage Car Show, which is now well into its second decade. He was appointed Honorary Squadron Commander of the Luke Air Force Base F-16s and spent many enjoyable hours working with the fighter squadron. While in Paradise Valley, Ron fell in love with the love of his life, Sheryl, and in 2002 they married. Ron enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren evolve and mature, and was always looking out for their best. His gracious, friendly smile will be missed by all.
Ron is survived by his wife, Sheryl, his sons Kevin Guy Clarke (Ellen) and Jeffrey Barlow Clarke (Kathy), and his grandchildren Austin Clarke, Dillon Clarke, Molly Clarke, and Kelli Clarke. He is predeceased by his parents Stanley and Lucille Clarke.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Munds Park Community Church, 17670 South Munds Ranch Road, Munds Park, AZ 86017, in Ron’s name are appreciated.
Per Ron’s request there will be no celebration of life or funeral services at this time. However, an honorary car rally will be held later this fall where friends and loved ones are welcome to join us whether they have a car to drive in the rally or not. For more information about the car rally, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.