Sidney Arthur Clarke was the third child and second son of Louis and Magda Clarke. He was born on January 22, 1932 in Bronx, New York. His primary education was through the New York public school system. He then attended Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania. He wrote several articles for the Pine Forge Spark, the school newspaper, and was a starring member of their basketball team. Working the ﬁelds and tending to the horses was part of the experience he had at Pine Forge. He loved the horses! Gettng into trouble one time for taking a horse and leaving campus and riding into town. It was through his Pine Forge experience that he made many lifelong friends and memories. He was still very much involved with the Alumni Association attending their annual weekend events. Sidney served his country during the Korean War in the US army as a medic for his company (skills he sometimes used at home). Upon the end of the war he returned to Anderson, NJ and worked in various jobs, the steel industry, janitorial, and he was one of the ﬁrst Black Field Workers for Northwest NJ Community Action Programs in the 60’s. It was here that he met Olga Marie and from this union raised seven children – Karen, Bruce, Olga (Beth), Sidney, Victor, Bonnie and Holly. He was a tough task master expecting excellence from his children. Sidney always marched to the beat of his own drum! He loved Jazz – Coltrane was his man and the “Queen of Skat” Ella Fitzgerald his lady. Moody’s Blues was his theme song. “There I go, there I go, there I go, pretty baby you are my heart and soul…” He would sing little snippets of songs around the house. “My Bonnie lies over the ocean… Bring back my Bonnie to me”. He was a sports enthusiast, playing basketball, football, handball and ping pong. As he told the story, “He put the ‘P’ in Ping Pong – It used to be Ing-Ong.” That was Sidney and he passed this passion for sports onto his sons. There was always a game being played or watched. He also had a quick wit and passed that along to his children also. So now you know… where we get it from. He was a sharp dresser – a suit and tie and his Stacey Adams always. Sidney took classes and received a Stationary Fireman Certiﬁcation. He then moved his family to Rhode Island in 1970 for better job opportunities. There he was the ﬁrst Black carpenter for Gilbane Construction Company, an industry dominated by Italians and Irish at the time. With his Stationary Fireman Certiﬁcation he gained employment with the City of Providence, Local Union 1033 of LIUNA and kept many families warm during the cold NE winters. He was a founding member of the RI Chapter of Ancient and Accepted Scotish Rites of Freemasonry, Louisiana, Inc.
When Olga and Sidney parted ways, Sidney returned to New Jersey to begin a new phase of his life. He started going back to Hillcrest SDA Church, renewed his commitment to the beliefs that he was raised in and traded Jazz for Gospel music. He became very involved with his church, embracing his faith and was head deacon for a period of time. It was here that he met and married Enriqueta Manley, a mom of three sons, Enrique, Jose and Timothy. They then opened heart and home and added two more sons, Edgardo and Oscar to this growing brood. All in all, Sidney had an inﬂuence over a blended family of 12 children, 24 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and 4 great great-grandchildren. Sidney departed this life following a short illness on Sunday, August 20, 2017. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Rudolph and Jerome (Joyce sister-in-law) Clarke; Timothy Manley; and David Scott (son-in-law). He leaves to mourn his passing his wife of 25 years, Enriqueta Clarke; sister Dorothy (Alex brother-in-law) Groves; daughters-in-law, Bethany, Elizabeth, Carmen, Zoraida, and Cynthia; sons-in-law, Mack and Terrance; many nieces, nephews and cousins; and a host of family, extended family, church family and friends.
A Celebration of life Service will be at Hillcrest SDA Church, Port Murray, NJ Oﬃciating Minister – Pastor Wayne Scott on Friday August 25th at 12 noon. Family and friends may visit with family from 11-12 noon at the chruch. Burial to follow in the Summerfield Cemetery in White Twp NJ. The DeVoe Funeral Service 136 West Washington Ave Washington NJ has been entrusted with his arrangements.