Roger C Clarke - obituary
27 October 1934 – 27 November 2021
I am sorry to let you know of the death of my father Roger Clarke, suddenly of heart failure on 27 November 2021 at the age of 87.
A teacher for his whole career, Dad was passionate about science and Chemistry in particular. He loved teaching. He was especially delighted when pupils chose to start journeys toward careers in Chemistry, Medicine, Engineering and other related disciplines. He always went the extra mile to support them in finding the qualifications and careers they aspired to. He remained in touch with former pupils for many years and took enormous pride and pleasure in their accomplishments. It is a great comfort to his family to think that they have gone on to save lives, make discoveries, lead construction projects and motivate others to study and work in the sciences.
Roger was born in Redhill, Surrey on 27 October 1934 to Cyril, also a teacher, and Olive Clarke. His Aunt, Ivy Gough, also lived with the family and her work as a private tutor meant she was well placed to encourage him in his interests and academic pursuits. As a boy, Roger began his lifelong interest in trains, planes and automobiles and Redhill was the ideal setting – a railway town under the skies of the Battle of Britain.
Roger went on study at Reigate Grammar School. He was very proud that, years later, his granddaughter Emily was able to do the same. He gained his BSc in Chemistry at Queen Mary College London in 1957. Sadly, he was unable to complete his PhD due to lack of funding, but this setback actually kick-started his teaching career. Roger made life-long friends at QMC. We are very grateful for their continuing support and friendship.
In 1959 Roger began his first teaching job at Crawley Technical College. His friend, first boss and mentor Ted Crunden said he took to it like a duck to water. In 1960 he took up his post at Hove Grammar School, later to become Blatchington Mill School. Roger guided the science department through multiple challenges including the switch to comprehensive education, the IT revolution, and countless education reforms before retiring as Head of Science in 1995. Roger was able to support numerous new teachers as they came through the school. After retirement he worked for the University of Sussex, mentoring and assessing PGCE students as they began their own teaching careers. The family was very touched to hear from many of Roger’s teaching colleagues after his death.
Roger used his retirement well and brought his investigative and analytical skills to bear on his family history, where he made great progress and discovered new family members as he went. He is much missed by his wife Joan, children Jan, Rosemary and Chris and grandchildren Tom, Alice and Emily, together with countless family members, friends, colleagues and pupils.
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