Roberta Ilene (Carter) Clarke, 86, passed away at her Temecula, California home in the early morning hours of April 3, 2013; she was surrounded by her family.
Bobbie was born to Edward Stacey and Carolyn (Valch) Carter in Fordson, Michigan on December 26, 1926. She was raised and attended schools in Detroit, and finished her academic career at Thomas M. Cooley High School. There she caught the eye of a burgeoning artist named Richard Allen Clarke, who penned her love letters until she paid him mind. The two were married in 1948, and began their family in 1952 with the birth of their one and only daughter, Janis. Three boys followed—Richard, William, and Robert—and the family found themselves in the west where the Clarkes settled into La Canada, a Southern California suburb.
The years to follow epitomized mid-century America. Family trips to national treasures, summers spent poolside with a menagerie of pets and friends, and cocktail parties for her husband’s advertising agency peers. A devoted mother, she was there for her daughter’s late-night high school sewing projects, and every one of her sons’ track-and-field matches, baseball and football games. Then this quintessentially stylish homemaker deftly transitioned into the role of working single mother in 1971. As a Travel Agent she saw the world after her offspring flew the coop. Traveling through Eastern and Western Europe, the Mediterranean and beyond, her sense of adventure came alive as she experienced the full spectrum of international offerings—no opportunity left untaken.
Her strength and patience were awe-inspiring, and she shied away from no task no matter the size. After moving to her happy home in Temecula in 1995, she forged herself a desert paradise where she landscaped her backyard with rocks carted in from blocks away in an apple red radio flyer. She taught herself to ski in her forties, and conquered the computer age in her sixties and seventies—tracing family history through genealogy websites, and forwarding her thoughts to family and friends through emails filled with helpful hints and bits of laughter culled from the Youtube universe. Ever the optimist and a romantic at heart, her retirement was spent tending her garden, which seemed always to be in full bloom; shepherding her expanding family, which grew to include seven grandchildren; and watching Hallmark movies, which spoke to her belief in happy endings.
Through all its peaks and valleys she crafted an impeccable life of simple refinement—one lived with intention, vivacity, grace and humor. The consummate perfectionist, never was there a hair out of place nor an ensemble askew; she oozed class and cultivated exceptional taste. She reveled in her role as mother and grandmother, and cherished every second spent surrounded by her progeny, the great loves of her life. Her attention to detail, her razor-sharp wit, that mischievous wink and the warmth of her smile made her a woman with no equal. The mold was truly broken when Bobbie Clarke was made, and this world’s song will never sing the same since she’s departed.
With heavy hearts she is survived by her sister, Donna Tiderington of Westland, Michigan, and all her children and grandchildren: Janis Meldahl, and her daughter, Nicole; Richard, his daughters, Jennifer and Ashley, and his wife, Diana; William, his wife, Mary, and their children, Margaux and Carter; Robert, his wife Alicja, and their children, Natalia and Allen. All of the above would like to thank the staff at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta, and Delta Hospice for treating Bobbie like family in her time of need.
To honor this amazing woman, a viewing will be held on April 8th from 4-8 pm at England Family Mortuary at 27135 Madison Avenue, Temecula, California, 92592. Graveside services will take place in the springtime sun at Temecula Public Cemetery—located at 41911 C Street, Temecula, California, 92592—the following day, April 9th, at 12:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the COPD Foundation (www.copdfoundation.org).