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Dr. Robert Smith Clarke, Jr

Dr. Robert Smith Clarke, Jr., 92, of Due West, specialist in Internal Medicine, died July 5, 2013 in Abbeville. He served his nation in World War II as a combat marine and continued serving the people of Kentucky and South Carolina for more than half a century as a family physician, college physician, and cardiologist.

The longtime Due West, Erskine College, and Abbeville Memorial Hospital physician was town and college doctor from 1961-92 and medical director of the Abbeville Nursing Home, and part-time practitioner at Savannah Lakes Village until 2003. He was on the original staff of the Abbeville Memorial Hospital and served cardiology patients from a wide geographic area.

Dr. Clarke, son of the late Robert S. and Elizabeth Ione "Bessie" Blackwell Clarke, is survived by his wife of 62 years, Elizabeth "Beth" Sloan Clarke; two daughters, Elizabeth Ann Clarke Judd(Gene) of Charlotte, NC, and Catherine "Trinka" Clarke Dickey(David) of Savannah, GA; one son, Robert S. Clarke III(Paula) of Due West; six grandchildren, Ben Califf of Charleston, SC, Christina Shealy of Savannah, GA, and Robert, Lydia, Andrew, and Samuel Clarke of Due West; and one sister, Elizabeth Clarke Robertson of Chattanooga, TN., extended family member Florence Norman; 6 nieces and 2 nephews.

A graduate of Due West High School, Robert Clarke was inspired by his admiration of Due West physician Dr. W.L. "Buck" Pressly to an ambition to become a doctor. This dream was delayed by four years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps following his 1942 graduation from the University of South Carolina. As a Captain in the USMC, he fought in the early World War II battles of Tulagi and Guadalcanal and received the Purple Heart for a wound received at Peleliu in Palau, a strategically important Pacific Island.

Following his discharge from the Marines in 1946, he entered the Medical University of South Carolina, receiving his M.D. in 1950. In 1951, after an internship at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, he practiced for a year in Due West with Dr. Pressly. He later served as medical director of the Eastern Coal Corporation in Stone, KY, and directed the health services at Clemson College. He completed a residency and fellowship in cardiology at MUSC and Roper Hospitals in Charleston in 1960. He then returned to his family farm in Due West and established his private practice.

He was married in 1951 to Beth Sloan, daughter of Dr. Everette Askins and Ann Pressly Sloan. Dr. Sloan was longtime chemistry professor and academic dean at Erskine College.

Dr. Clarke was beloved as a personal care physician, often paying personal visits to patients. He was honored by the Town of Due West and the staff at Abbeville Memorial Hospital on his retirement, and Erskine College recognized his long service as college physician by naming him to its Academic Hall of Fame. He served on the Board of Visitors for the Medical University of South Carolina and the Abbeville County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees. In 1991 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Abbeville Rotary Club and was inducted into the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. In 2004 he was presented the Pioneer Award by the South Carolina Rural Health Association for significant contributions to the delivery of primary health care in a rural environment.

The family wishes to express deepest appreciation for the loving support and comfort provided to Dr. Clarke over the past few years. Those who provided support include the medical, nursing, and support staff at Abbeville Area Medical Center, Home Health Care, and many friends and colleagues who provided care at home. Mary Gingerich, Twila Swartzentruber, Anthony Swartzentruber, Dr. Heidi Rodillo, Dr. Evangeline Gonzales, and Dr. Chris Ceraldi, for their extraordinary wisdom and support.

Memorials in memory of Dr. Clarke may be made to the Abbeville Area Medical Center Foundation, 420 Thomson Circle Abbeville, SC 29620, the Due West Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church PO Box 397 Due West, SC 29639 or to Erskine College PO Box 338 Due West, SC 29639.

Funeral services will be conducted Monday July 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM in the Due West ARP Church with the Revs. Dr. Randle Ruble and Robbie Bell officiating. The burial will follow in the church cemetery with Military Honors.

The family will receive friends Sunday afternoon at Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home from 3:00 until 5:00 PM. The family is at the residence 5431 Hwy. 184 East Donalds, SC.


Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home
208 South Main Street
Abbeville, SC  29620
Sunday, July 07, 2013
3:00 - 5:00 PM


Due West ARP Church
112 North Main Street
Due West, SC  29639
Monday, July 08, 2013
2:00 PM


Due West ARP Church Cemetery
112 North Main Street
Due West ,  SC  29639

Memorial Contributions

Abbeville Area Medical Center Foundation
420 Thomson Circle
Abbeville, SC 29620 Due West ARP Church
PO Box 397
Due West, SC 29639 Erskine College
PO Box 338
Due West, SC 29639

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To all the family of Dr. Clarke, my deepest sympathy to you all. Dr. Clarke was a wonderful doctor who took extra good care of me when he found out I had diabetes. He treated me as if I was one of his children. I think that if I had had another doctor at the beginning of my diabetes I would not be in as good of heath as I am now. I have and will always think and keep him in a special place in my heart. I know he is in heaven taking care of my Mama, Daddy and rest of my family. God bless and keep you all, Karen

Karen Kay Higgins Jul 11 2013 12:00 AM

HospiceCare of the Piedmont wishes to extend its condolences to the family of Dr. Clarke. Hospice considered it a privilege to care for Dr. Clarke during his illness.

HospiceCare of the Piedmont Jul 9 2013 12:00 AM

MY deepest sympathies to the Clarke family. Dr. Clarke and your family have been life-long friends of our family. He was a great physician and friend. He will be missed by everyone in our community. May God bless each of you during this very difficuly time.

Rosa McGaha Pruitt Jul 8 2013 12:00 AM

Ann,I just wanted you to know that you and your family are in my prayers at this difficult time for you. Please accept my deepest sympathy. Penny

Penny Smith Jul 8 2013 12:00 AM

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time, and we send our deepest condolences.

Thomas W Gettys Jul 8 2013 12:00 AM

Our deepest sympathy is extended to the Clarke family at this time of sadness as well as rejoicing!

John & Betty Hunt Jul 7 2013 12:00 AM

to the family of Dr Clarke: Please accept my condolences on the loss of a Great Man.Dr Clarke was a friend and a mentor for me. His impression on my life is beyond explanition. His service to our country in WW II is why we all remain free . He has always been one of my heroes.I didn't come today ,nor will I come tomorrow as our split has always been painful to me . best to you all.

Neil Richardson Jul 7 2013 12:00 AM

Respected also as President of Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity at MUSC during his senior year.Our deepest condolences to his family.

Dr. John W. Rheney Jul 7 2013 12:00 AM

Dear Trinka, Just read your dad's obituary in the paper and wanted you and your family to know that we sympathize with you. May God bless you and your family.

Patricia McClain McAlister Jul 7 2013 12:00 AM

With deepest sympathy to the Clarke family. My oldest brother was delivered by Dr. Clarke and he also name him Joel Clarke. I wonder how many babies did he share his name with. (smile). he is a good Christian man if I have to say so.

Betty Jackson Jul 7 2013 12:00 AM

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