James Clarke (9-9-14) service 9-13-14


James Harlan Clarke arrived in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., on March 17, 1935, born to Richard C. Clarke Sr. and Snody Sutton Clarke. They remained in Lawrenceburg for a period of time before moving to Milan, Tenn. James left there in the 1950s, moving to Savannah to sell insurance and taking up residence in the old Farris Hotel on Main Street. Eventually, most of his family would follow him to Savannah.
Once James finished his college work, he entered the teaching profession, working at various schools in Hardin County for the next 23 years. During that time he also coached basketball within the school system and Babe Ruth baseball. Never one to be idle, after his retirement he began working as a case manager for Quinco Mental Health and with the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) Program, positions which kept him busy for the next 17 years.
Although a member of  Eureka Methodist Church, he pastored several Methodist churches in Hardin and Wayne Counties. His earlier years found him actively participating in the Republican party, eventually running for County Commissioner of Hardin County, a position he occupied for 20 plus years.
Although active in his profession and his community, one of James’s greatest joys was sports—and if it was Tennessee then it really didn’t matter which sport. In his considered opinion, Pat Summit was one of the greatest coaches ever and Peyton Manning one of the best quarterbacks. He followed Peyton’s career through college and into the NFL and even took two of his grandsons to a banquet in Jackson, Tenn., to hear him speak. But his interest extended beyond being a coach or a spectator; he played baseball during his tenure at Lambuth and tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals. It was his height, not his skill, that kept him off the team.
James loved to fish but was always giving away whatever he caught. Playing dominos and Rook were two other favorite pastimes, sometimes with family but more often than not with his friends in a building just behind court square. Later years found him watching his granddaughter, Courtney, as she played softball in high school and college, and his grandson, Steven, during his high school baseball career.
James left his family and friends on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the age of 79 years, 5 months, and 23 days.
He leaves behind his two daughters, Debbie Jones and her husband Reginald, and Dianna White and her husband Blake, all of Savannah; three sisters, Juanita Harrison and her husband Jim of Savannah, Ann Cunningham and her husband Earl, also of Savannah, and Dean Talkington and her husband James of Thompson, Ga.; one brother, Thomas Clarke and his wife Alexanne of North Carolina; four grandchildren, Lucas Jones and his wife Kayla, Courtney White, Colton Jones, and Steven White; and one great-grandson, Malachi Jones.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his two brothers, one who died at birth, and R.C. Clarke Jr.; and his sister, Frances Arrington.
Memorial Donations may be made to:
American Cancer Society, 2006 Wayne Road, Savannah, Tenn. 38372.
Services were held on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m., at Shackelford Chapel in Savannah with Courtney White, Colton Jones, Steven White and Allen Guyer officiating. Burial followed in Memory Gardens at Savannah.