A. John Clarke
Teacher, Education Administrator,
Public Servant

Alva John Clark, Principal, B. Y. High School
A. John Clark, BYH Principal

Eleventh Principal of
Brigham Young High School
1946 to 1949

Alva John Clarke was born on July 3, 1908, in Magrath, Alberta, Canada. His parents were Peter Gemmell Clarke and Vilate Green Clarke.

John Clarke was educated in Magrath schools and he earned a teaching certificate from Calgary Normal School. He was a teacher and principal in Canada before coming to Provo, Utah.

John married Xarissa (Rissa) Merkley on July 4, 1929, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and their marriage was solemnized July 23, 1929, in the Alberta Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A. John Clarke taught high school physics, mathematics, and theology at Brigham Young High School in Provo from 1937 to 1948. In 1945-46 he also taught art.

He served as the eleventh Principal of BY High School from 1946 to 1949. He had served as Acting Principal in 1943. His first year as Principal was 1946-47, and he continued through 1947-1948, when he handed off the office to Herbert K. Christensen.

He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from BYU, and an Ed.D. from the University of Colorado in 1950. A professor of education administration, assistant dean and acting dean of the College of Education at BYU, he was a member of the faculty of BYU for 35 years until his retirement in 1973.

With his wife Rissa, John worked in Iran as an advisor in the Point IV Program to revise the curriculum of the secondary schools. He returned there at the request of the Minister of Education to further that work, and to be an advisor to the Chancellor of the University of Tehran.

In 1967 he went to Washington D.C. where he aided the U.S. Office of Education as Chief of Program Management for the Follow-Through program of Head Start.

Active in civic concerns, John was a long-time member of the Provo Kiwanis Club, the BYU Cougar Club, and was involved with the AARP and Timpanogas Transit Authority, serving each as president.

In 1980 he was elected Provo City Commissioner, serving with Anagene Mecham and Major James Ferguson.

Rissa Clarke died on August 17, 1986, in Provo, Utah.

John married again, this time to Marian Green Stephens on May 8, 1987, in Rexburg, Idaho. They made their home in Orem, Utah.

John Clarke was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as bishop in Canada and in Provo. He was a high priest in Suncrest 2nd Ward at the time of his death in 1995.

A. John Clarke was survived by his wife, Marian, of Orem, Utah; one son and four daughters: Margaret Clarke Riley [BYH Class of 1949], Olympia, Washington; Sybil Clarke [BYH Class of 1952 ~ Honorary](Roger) Ferguson, Scottsdale, Arizona; Jack A. (Marilyn) Clarke [BYH Class of 1954], Orem, Utah; Jill Clarke [BYH Class of 1954 ~ Honorary](Alan) Harris, Cleveland, Ohio; and Kathryn Clarke [BYH Class of 1961] (Paul) Williams, of Mesa, Arizona.

His stepchildren are Kay Stephens(Arlan) Mortensen; Greg M. (Linda) Stephens; Roger C. (Julie) Stephens; and Courtney G. (Kelly) Stephens.

A. John Clark was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers and two sisters: Peter Drew Clarke, James Green Clarke, Jesse Clarke, Wilson Clarke, Jennie Clark, and Sarah Elizabeth (Sadie) Clarke; and by grandchildren, Peter Riley and Ann Harris.

He died on Saturday, December 30, 1995, in Provo, Utah, at age 87, of complications following a stroke. Interment, American Fork City Cemetery.

[Special thanks to the Deseret News, Monday, January 1, 1996]

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