Funeral held for racing writer Orville Clarke
Former racing writer at The Gleaner, Orville ‘Clarkie’ Clarke, was described as a kind and generous man at his funeral held yesterday at the Holy Rosary Church in east Kingston.
Clarke, who worked at The Gleaner as a freelance sports writer for more than 40 years, died on June 26 at age 73. Elaine Small, a friend of the Clarke family and a former member of staff at The Gleaner, read a tribute to Clarke from The Gleaner Sports Desk. It said Clarke was one of those rare sports journalists who could be called on to cover any sport and would do it with the same effectiveness and quality.
“Clarkie was much more than just a racing man. His knowledge of sports was broad. He could be called on to cover numerous sports – football, cricket, track and field, showjumping, polo, boxing, bodybuilding, table tennis. You could say he was one of a dying breed of sports writers who could cover almost every sport and do a very good job every time,” she stated.
“Clarkie was, however, best known for his comprehensive knowledge of local racing. He was like a walking encyclopedia on local racing and its history. He had many racing facts at his fingertips. If anyone wanted to find out which horse won the Jamaica Derby or Jamaica Oaks in 1985, Clarkie would have the right answer in a split second,” she continued.
Clarke was also described as a dedicated worker and would rarely miss an assignment, even when ill.
“While others would miss an assignment if they had the flu or a headache, Clarkie was not a man for excuses. He would always have his pain-killers or his inhaler in his bag and was good to go after taking two Panadols or Phensic tablets. Clarkie could always be relied on,” she said.
His sons Anthony and Alton, both remembered him as a generous and unselfish individual.
“My father Orville, a very humble individual, generous, uplifting,” said Anthony. “While I was growing up he used to take me everywhere and I admired his dedication to his craft. He never missed a beat and that helped me in my everyday life. And as a father we loved him.
“I grew to love horse racing. It is my favourite sport to this day and it is because of him. Even though he was ill (in his last days), he still listened to horse racing and football on the radio. When I called him he would ask various questions about sports and we would speak on those things, so it never left him,” he commented.
On his request, Clarke’s body will be cremated. Clarke is survived by his sons Anthony and Ryan, daughter Latoya and wife Valerie.