Ellen Kennedy Clarke, age 88, of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, died Thursday, February 17, 2011, surrounded by her children. She will be remembered always as a loving mother, grandmother, sister, compassionate teacher, and joyful friend who relished life. She was born on May 7, 1922 in Chicago, IL to the late John Joseph Kennedy and Ruth Agnes Dean, the second of four children. She grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, attended Trinity College in Washington, DC, and graduated with a B.S. degree from Albertus Magnus College in 1943. She did post-graduate work in the elite metallurgy studies program at The Pennsylvania State University, and worked for Sikorsky Aircraft in Bridgeport, CT, designing planes for World War II. She married USMC First Lieutenant Harry St. Clair Clarke in 1946. They were married for 29 years until his death in 1975. They had nine children: Elizabeth Clarke Horrigan of Perrysburg, OH; Margaret Simon (William) of Shaker Heights, OH; Harry St. Clair Clarke, Jr. (Jennifer Swain) of Sullivan's Island, SC; Martha Capone (Raymond, Jr.) of Pittsburgh, PA; John Kennedy Clarke (Melanie Cognetta) of Princeton, NJ; Mimi Clarke Corcoran (Michael) of Harrison, NY; Ellen de Saint Phalle (Pierre) of Bronxville, NY; Martin Andrew Clarke (Bibi Qureshi) of Greenwich, CT, and Jennifer Ruth Clarke, who died at age seven. While raising her family, she earned her master's degree in education and taught math and science at North Haven High School, where she also served as senior class advisor. Active in school, community, and church organizations throughout her life, she was president of the Cathedral Players, Altar Sodality, and AAUW in Toledo, OH. In Connecticut, she was a member of the English Speaking Union and volunteered at the Creative Arts Workshop. When she moved to Mt. Pleasant, she enjoyed many new organizations at Franke at Seaside, including history clubs, bridge, and book groups. She also mentored medical students from the Medical University of South Carolina. Her legacy is her family: twenty-eight grandchildren, Elizabeth Nicholson (Jonathon), Abigail, Paul, Andrew (Angela Snell) and John Horrigan (Lindsey); William (Meghan), Benjamin (Elizabeth), Joseph (Julie) and Nicholas Simon; Harry III and Joseph Clarke, Raymond III and Avery Capone; Julia Clarke Van Arsdale (Bruce), Noelle, Ellen and Isabelle Clarke; Michael, Ethan, Alexander and Teddy Corcoran; Elizabeth, Peter, Anne, and John de Saint Phalle; Martin, Daniel and John Clarke, and six great grandchildren. She loved sharing in her children's lives and cherished her grandchildren, attending their many athletic contests, plays, concerts, and academic events. Ellen is also survived by her brother, Richard Kennedy (Nana) and her sister, Mary Ruth Kennedy Hampton (Walter), and her sister-in-law, Anne Kennedy. In addition to her husband, daughter, and parents, she is predeceased by her brother, Dr. John Kennedy, Jr. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 26, 2011 at St. Barnabas Church, North Haven, CT. The Rev. Thomas J. Hagan, O.S.F.S., former Catholic Chaplain to Princeton University and founder of Hands Together, an outreach program to help the poor in Haiti, will be the celebrant. The Rev. Hugh J. MacDonald will assist. Friends may visit with the family at BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden, on Saturday morning from 8 to 9:15 a.m. Burial will be in All Saints Cemetery. The family thanks the caring staff at the Medical University of South Carolina. Contributions in Ellen's memory may be sent to: The Center for Discovery, Providing services for children and adults with severe disabilities, P.O. Box 840 – Benmosche Road, Harris, NY 12742 or Franke at Seaside, Benevolence Fund for Resident Care, 1885 Rifle Range Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 or Medical University of South Carolina, Student Mentoring Program, Office of Development, 261 Calhoun Street, Suite 306, MSC 182, Charleston, SC 29425.

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  1. Many beautiful thoughts of your dear mother, Ellen, from the Toledo Wernerts. We think we just heard the clink of cocktail glasses between her and our Rosie! What remarkable ladies–what good friends–what beautiful lives–what wonderful memories! Our sympathy, The Wernerts (Dave & Kathy) (Skip & Mary Kay) (Steve & JoAn) (Tony & Kay)

  2. Ellen Kennedy Clarke was a true grand dame if ever there was one! I just loved being in her presence, enjoying her .sparkle.. She was an accomplished soul! My thoughts are with Margaret and all of her family.

  3. Harry and Jennifer,read the obituary in the Toledo paper today , what a great lady and what a great life your mom had! In knowing you two as long as I have the saying .the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. apllies also, she passed on the important part of life..ENJOY it! My mom wanted me to let you know she is thinking of the wonerful times she had with Ellen and Rosie Wernert, moments she will always enjoy thinking about. I wish I could be there to help celebrate your moms life . Our best to your family.

  4. It has been a number of years since Ellen and I taught at North Haven High School, but I remember her well. She was more than just a colleague. She was a true friend. She was more than just a a good teacher. She was a good person, someone who cared about her students. She cared about people and was always there to listen and help anyone who needed her support. I was so fortunate to have known Ellen from whom I learned so much about what is really important in life. She was a wonderful role model and an inspiration. More than anything else, I know how much she loved her family and can only imagine how much she will be missed. She has left us in body but not spirit. The impression she has made in the lives of those who knew her is indelible. My sincere condolences to her family. We can take confort in knowing she is in Heaven

  5. We are so sorry for your loss. What a dynamic and giving lady she was! I’m sure she will live on in your hearts and forever be a role model for every life she has touched. Kathy Hayden (daughter of Mary Hayden)

  6. I feel so fortunate to have known Ellen in the last chapter of her life. I work as an Exercise Specialist at the retirement community where she lived. Ellen was a dedicated participant of the water aerobics classes. I could probably count the number of hours I spent with Ellen on two hands, but every encounter with her was cherished. She had the most amazing spirit and I left each conversation wanting to learn more about this extraordinary woman, her life, and her family that she was so proud of. Franke at Seaside will not be the same without her smiling face. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

  7. The first time I met Ellen was when she attended a pre wedding dinner for Alison and I. My memories are of a very outgoing, caring, friendly woman who helped welcome my sons and I into the Hampton/Kennedy family. She and her brother Dick may the evening most enjoyble. May the memory of her spirit, live on in everyone’s hearts and minds. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Jay and Ali

  8. Liz and family, I just read the paper today to learn of your Mother’s death. I am so sorry to hear of it but can tell that she must have had a good life full of pride and happiness. My thoughts are with you. Pat

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