John “Jack” Clarkson, 80, of Marcus, Iowa went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 4, 2021 at Heartland Care Center in Marcus, Iowa. Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at Holy Name Catholic Church in Marcus, Iowa. Masks and social distancing will be required. Father Bill McCarthy will celebrate Mass. Burial will follow at Holy Name Cemetery in Marcus. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the church. There will also be a gathering and celebration of Jack’s life at a later date.
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John Arthur (Jack) Clarkson was born on May 3rd, 1940, to John and Lorene Clarkson. Jack and his younger brother Jim grew up in Marcus during the war years of World War II. Their father owned Clarkson’s IGA grocery store in Marcus, and Jack spent his early years helping in the store, from his first job sorting pop bottles to waiting on customers and delivering groceries in the station wagon. It was in the grocery store that Jack developed his interest in and care for other people. He was proud to work at Wells Dairy, Walnut Grove, and Sand Seed Service.
Jack thrived in Marcus’s tight-knit community, and delighted in the good ol’ days of growing up in the 1940s and 50s. After his graduation in 1958, Jack and a few buddies followed Chuck Berry’s advice and took a road trip to California. They toured LA and Catalina Island, watched the Dodgers play, met Walt Disney at the Coca-Cola Theater in Disneyland, stopped off in Mexico, and traded their spare tire for gas in order to make it home in time for a dance in Remsen!
On June 20th, 1959, he embarked on his greatest adventure: his marriage to Fern Letsche, his wife of 61 years. Jack and Fern had a wonderful marriage and raised their three young kids in Marcus: Tammy, Bob, and Alan. They were very proud of all three.
Jack was a pillar of the Marcus community. He served as a volunteer for the Marcus Fire Department and was very involved at Holy Name Catholic Church. He was a member of both the Jaycees and the Knights of Columbus, was an Advocate at the Heartland Care Center, and coached little league for a number of years. Jack was an avid supporter of the Marcus high school sports teams. Jack also had a great love of history—particularly Marcus history, a tradition he carried on from his dad, John M. Clarkson.
Jack’s entire life was characterized by service. He cared deeply for other people, and found quiet ways to serve them. The stories of Jack’s generosity are known throughout the community. He went out of his way to acknowledge everyone. Jack will be remembered by many people for the kindness he showed them.
And of course, no account of Jack’s life would be complete without his deep and abiding love for the LA Dodgers. A loyal fan, Jack followed the Dodgers his entire life. Some of his happiest memories include meeting and talking to Duke Snider, Carl Erskine, and Sandy Koufax; his correspondence with Peter O’Malley, the Dodgers’ owner; and getting Jackie Robinson’s autograph. And, of course, when the Dodgers won the World Series for him last year. There is little question that Jack was the most devoted fan the Dodgers have ever had.
Jack was much beloved by his family and by everyone who knew him. We miss him dearly. Jack lives on in the hearts of his family and all of Marcus.
Jack is survived by his wife, Fern of Marcus, IA; his three children, Tammy (Doug) Dalton of Cherokee, IA, Bob (Crystal) of Bozeman, MT and Alan (Claudia) of Algonquin, IL; his brother, Jim (Marsha) of Redmond, WA; and his six grandchildren, McKinsie, Madison, Wyatt, Benjamin, Isabelle, and Amanda.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister-in-law, Teresa Dalton.