Portland – Merle Clarke, passed away on September 22nd , at Mercy Hospital. Merle was born in Milbridge, Maine, son of Phelps Abbott Clarke and Cora Burnham Leighton. At a young age, Merle’s family moved to Portland and he attended Portland Schools, graduating from Portland High School. After graduation, Merle entered the Air Force and proudly served his country for 3 years.
Upon leaving the Air Force, his career started with a variety of jobs including H.P. Hood and construction where he was part of the team that built the tower at the Portland International Airport. Merle also worked at S.D. Warren for several years. After S.D. Warren, he ventured into Real Estate, at one point owning 200 rental units in Portland. His first retirement was at the age of 38, then after a few years, Merle, not wanting to just sit around, returned to investing in Real Estate.
Merle always said that he believed that he was able to do everything he wanted to in life. He was not a suit type of guy. During his various retirement years, Merle loved to collect cars, at times owning a Packard, DeLorean and a Rolls Royce. One car was a Corvair convertible, with the plate reading “Un saf”. He also enjoyed boating, once owning a sport fisherman to cruise around the harbor. He was well known throughout the Portland waterfront.
Merle’s business card was a classic, it read: Merl Clarke, Fine Arts: Used Cars, Whiskey, Manure, Nails, Land, Fly Swatters, Racing Forms, Bongo Drums, Repossessed Coffins, Flies, among other assorted items that should not be in print.
Merle was a good father and worked hard throughout his life to support his family. Many of his passions are being carried on by his sons. One of those passions was supporting local artists, owning many of their original works, which were displayed throughout his home.
He was a member of the Elks, Eagles, Amvets and was a 32nd Degree Mason.
Merle was predeceased by his parents and his brother Phelps. He is survived by two sisters, Laura Downs and Katheryn Duguay. He is survived by his four sons; Steven of Stuart, FL, Michael of Naples, ME, Robert of Portland and David of Westbrook, along with three grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to give thanks to their dad’s home care nurse, Jen Hinckley, for all that she did for him so that he could still live at home.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday September 29,2021, from 5 to 7PM at A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, 660 Brighton Avenue. Based on guidelines and recommendations from the State of Maine CDC, for those in attendance during the visitation, you will be required to wear masks.