December 3, 1934- August 7, 2021
Born in Brownstown, Jamaica to Luther and Joyce Clarke, Godfrey Constantine Clarke, 86, was the 2nd of six children. On August 7, 2021, he joined his beloved wife, Fayette; sons, Kevin and Vaughn; parents; brother, Winston; and sisters, Lilleth, Rhona and Carmen in the life ever after. He is survived by his children Nigel, Kelly-Ann and Camille; his grandchildren, Nyles and Zachariah; his daughter-in-law, Monique Smith; his brother, Neville and wife Thelma; his siblings on his wife’s side, Herman Vernon, Bernard Bonnick, June Vernon, Jackie Bertram; his nephews, Wayne Clarke, Warren Clarke, Gregory Bryan, Darryl Bryan, Thaddeus Vernon, Dean Vernon, Warren Bertram, and Shaun Clarke; and nieces, Nadja Vernon and Lisa Vernon.
Godfrey became an accountant working for the University of the West Indies and Jamaica Development Bank in Kingston. He met his beloved, Fayette, at work. They talked about books and he decided not to propose to the woman he was dating. Fayette and Godfrey’s courtship spanned miles and several years apart when she went to college in New York while he stayed in Jamaica. Although they had talked of marriage, he told her to pursue her education first because the opportunity to do so was now, and he would still be there when she finished. For four years, on their Saturday date night, he traveled across town to visit with her family while she was in New York. He galivanted with her brother, gave endless piggyback rides to her younger sisters and helped her mother. The couple mailed each other letters and pictures, until one day in her junior year he had a ring delivered. Married to Fayette Clarke the same year Jamaica gained independence from England, the two had 4 children in Jamaica, tragically losing one to a car accident.
In December of 1980, he moved his family to the Houston, Texas so his oldest son, Kevin, could start college. He made a simple life for his family as an accountant for oil and gas companies. He was a tax revenue account which meant he found tax credits for the company requiring him to be versed in regulatory, accounting and tax issues. Turns out he was the man sticking it to the man while working for the man. In October of 1988, his 9-month-old granddaughter came to live with the family and made such an impression, Godfrey and Fayette adopted her, making her his 5th child. Family life was holidays together and Sunday dinner up until the end. He loved two things more than anything else- his wife and his children. To say he was devoted shortchanges his devotion- all decisions he made were for their future. When a grown child needed financial support he provided it. When his darling Fayette got sick, he took care of her.
His family was his center. While he secretly worried if he had done enough for his children to reach their personal goals, he was proud of each of them. He loved them for taking care of him when he was healthy and when he was sick. Sunday dinners was his favorite time of the week. He enjoyed bantering with his brother, Neville, discussing politics, current events and reminiscing on their childhood. He looked forward to the calls with his sisters, Rhona, June and Jackie talking about the family and everyday life. His family was spread across the country and Jamaica and he liked knowing what was going on with everyone. His children’s’ friends’ were considered family and he enjoyed watching them transform from children to adults to parents. Their children were his extended grandchildren. From bouncing the neighbor on his knee to chase with “Mr. Coffee,” any child that came in his circle got treated to a warm, playful side he reserved for the under 10 crowd. He cherished the moments with his new grandsons, who loved nothing more than snuggling with their Papa.
Known as a quiet gentleman, Godfrey was an avid reader of literature, history, religious and spiritual texts, and crosswords. He could quote any line of Shakespeare or scripture and tell you a 5-letter word for chicken (capon). He practiced meditation and was a certified Yogi. He donated to the church but attended when asked by his wife or for special occasions. Lovingly called, TechDaddy, he was comfortable with technology and he sure did love gadgets including cell phones, tablets, fitness trackers, watches, i-anything, fans, space heaters, label makers and calculators. He wasn’t the most technically savvy, but always had the latest and greatest! He also loved cases for aforementioned gadgets. A DIY pro with some twine, a twist tie or a bit of wire, Godfrey was McGyver before McGyver ever came on the airwaves. He loved getting out his tools at the “Clarke and Sons Tinker Shop” with his daughters (and even with his sons). While he could be stubborn and resolute, he allowed life experience and learning to shape his opinions and every once in a while, changed his mind. He gave up red meat in 1987 and all meat in 2010. He began eating chicken and seafood again shortly before his death- stating that he was bored. Growing up in the British Caribbean, Godfrey was proper, punctual, and resourceful. He knew the importance of hard work and the value of a good time. He may have had afternoon tea, but definitely enjoyed a good rum.
Godfrey enjoyed a good sporting match. He watched any and everything! When he wanted to learn about a sport, he would watch it on TV. When he felt he had mastered the nuance, the volume was muted. He no longer wanted the commentator’s opinion of what was going on once he understood the sport. His favorites were soccer, golf and tennis. He also loved revisiting his youth with a cricket match. The sport he actively participated in was walking. At his prime (in his mid 80s), he walked 6 miles a day. He was well known on the walking trails. His collection of walking shoes could probably tell a vivid story.
Although he intended to travel more in retirement, he went on some adventures and made friends wherever he journeyed. After his wife passed, his favorite trips were going to American Bar Association meetings. He wasn’t a lawyer, but you wouldn’t know it by the greetings he would get.
Godfrey always had a big smile and a friendly greeting for his neighbors, friends and family. He lived in the same area for 40 years and had friends at the grocery store, drug store, walking trails, and everywhere in between. Godfrey lived a simple and beautiful life. His big smile and warm heart will be missed by all who knew him.
Donations to the Godfrey Clarke Memorial Fund can be made via Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org or https://everloved.com/life-of/godfrey-clarke/donation
The service will be live streamed at https://st.cuthbert.org/calendar
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