WESSINGTON, SD – Roy O. Clarke, 94, of Wessington, passed away Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller.
Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m., Thursday, April 18, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church, Wessington with Rev. L. Scott Spiehs officiating. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at the church in Wessington. Burial will be at a later date in the Wessington Cemetery.
When Roy Clarke was born eight miles north of Wessington with the help of a midwife, Mrs. Robinson, his parents Harry J. Clarke and Henrietta (Martens) Clarke had no idea their son would live such a long life (94 years). He joined his brothers Ralph and Lester on the farm built by his dad. Donald would join them a few years later.
His early years included: riding a pony to Banner school, playing baseball, and developing a lifelong friendship with Stanley Martens, Clayton Lockner, and Francis DePauw. When five, the Great Depression started, which influenced him to become resourceful. During the depression, when he was 10, his parents lost their farm as the crops dried up. Their only income during this time was a little egg money, selling cream and serving home brew and sandwiches at barn dances in their barn. Going to high school meant staying in an enclosed porch with two friends and eating their meals in the basement of the community hall. He worked in the old Golden Rule grocery store for 25 cents a day to pay his rent. Roy graduated from Wessington High School in 1943.
When World War II broke out, he was ready to serve his country. He traveled to Fort Snelling by train only to be sent back home to help his dad with the dairy and on the farm. He delivered milk for 8 cents a quart and he also farmed his own 80-acre corn crop so he could purchase a farm SW of Wessington.
In 1945, he met the love of his life at a 4th of July dance in Wessington. During a lull in farming, on September 26, 1946, he married Elizabeth (Betty) Severson on the Liebnow farm. To this union, three children were born: Ronald, Bruce, and Vernetta.
Roy provided well for the family by raising cattle, grains and alfalfa crops. Taking care of the land by following good agricultural practices was important to him. In addition, he served as a substitute mail carrier and retired from that position after 38 years.
In 1976, they moved into Wessington to a home Roy built. Roy was always a supporter of his church and businesses in the community. After retiring from farming in 1982, he bought Len’s Town and Country Store and renamed it R & B Food Center. Roy and Betty enjoyed many years of square dancing, traveling south during the cold winter months as well as socializing with friends.
Roy joined Betty at the Good Samaritan Society, Miller, SD in 2007. They were married for 66 years.
He will be missed by his family: his son, Ronald (Joni) Bellwood, NE, their 4 sons: Justin (Megan) their children Jack, Alex and Henry of TX, Derek of IL, Jared (Andrea) their children: Addie, Molly and Lainey of NE and Joshua (Shayla) Sexton their children: Sawyer and Rory of NE; son, Bruce (Karen) Wessington, SD, their two sons: Dustyn of SD, Darin (Angela) their children: Logan & Alaina of IA; daughter, Vernetta (Skeet Smith) her two daughters: Louise (Tim) Stanton their children MacKenzie, Issac & Oliver of MN, Lisa Mangone her children: Jack and Katherine of MN and son: Joshua (Brooke) their children: Asher, Hoyt, and Beatrix of SD.
He is preceded in death by wife, Betty (2012); his parents; brothers; Ralph and Don; sisters-in-law: Charlotte, Bernice and Jean; and his father and mother-in-law.
In lieu of flowers, the family will direct memorials to organizations in the Wessington Community.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Roy’s arrangements. Visit www.familyfuneralhome.net