Home Forums Rides-Rallies-Etc Sad News on the Passing of Steve Clarke

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    • #131720


        On behalf of the Board of Directors I have the sad duty to let you know that Steve Clarke, beloved BMWMOC member and friend, was the victim of a tragic accident yesterday afternoon, September 15. Steve was in West Virginia at the RA Rally riding with club members when a deer jumped onto the road colliding with his bike and throwing him into the oncoming lane of traffic where he was struck by a car and killed.

        Steve’s daughter is making arrangements, and we will give you the details as soon as we know them.

        Steve was a dear friend of mine – it lifted my mood just to see him when he would show up for a ride. His enthusiasm, friendliness and ready smile were contagious. I will miss him, and I know many of you will, too.


        Steve was a member of BMWMOC for over twelve years, known by many and, now, missed by all.


        Stephen Prescott Clarke, age 71, passed away on September 15, 2023 on a motorcycle trip to a BMW rally with friends in West Virginia. Steve died doing what he loved, surrounded by mountains and beautiful nature; he did not suffer. Steve was born in Concord, New Hampshire to Gloria (age 95) and Prescott Chadwick Clarke (deceased).  There, his love of the outdoors began.

        Steve studied history at the University of New Hampshire—but lest we forget his “break” from his studies to spend a few years in the ski patrol. Steve moved to Cleveland, Ohio in his early thirties, where he met Nancy, and spent a long and fulfilling career at American Greetings. (Those who knew him never bought Hallmark.)

        Steve’s interests were diverse and far-reaching.  He was an avid motorcyclist up until the end. A member of the BMW Motorcycle Club of Ohio, Steve devoted half his garage to his many motorcycles—each having a different purpose—just for fun, trails, cross-country trips, and vintage. Steve was also a lifelong and talented skier. He passed that love on to his daughter, who, even just last year, could not keep up with her 70-year-old dad on the slopes of Keystone, Colorado.

        Steve had an affinity for the arts and a special fondness for The Cleveland Orchestra and Apollo’s Fire. A frequent concert attendee, he also loved the blues, bluegrass, and lesser known-rock. Steve was also a cyclist, joined a pickle ball league later in life, and committed himself to health and fitness.  He balanced all that out with his unsatiable sweet tooth.

        Steve was a Cleveland sports fan and had a taste for dark beer and good bourbon. He was a lifelong learner, reader, and explorer. He loved animals—from the deer in his backyard, to the many dogs and cats he had over the years—most recently, his beloved Beagle mix, Monty.

        Those who knew him will remember his infectious smile and sense of humor. Ever sarcastic, Steve had a quick wit, dry sense of humor, and charming New England dialect that he thankfully never lost. Steve retired from American Greetings at the age of 67.  He then wrote the book on how to enjoy and make the most of retirement.

        Steve loved his family. He was a loving husband to Nancy (deceased) and the best dad that his only child, Chelsea, could ask for.  Steve loved Chelsea’s family with his whole heart, including his son-in-law, Joel Weaver, and his two granddaughters, Emma (4) and Charlotte (2). The girls worshiped their “bubba”, and the guest room at Joel and Chelsea’s house will always be known as “Bubba’s room.” Steve is also survived by his loving sisters, Sarah, to whom he was like a father, Hilary, and Cherie; brothers, Chris and Jason; beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family members, as well as countless friends and neighbors he considered family.

        Life can be cruel and unpredictable. But Steve spent his days intentionally and loved what life had to offer. “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a Ride!” –Hunter Thompson.  All who knew and loved Steve were lucky to be along for the ride.

        Steve asked that his ashes be scattered on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire.  A celebration of Steve’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at Cahoon Park Gazebo in Bay Village, Ohio.  All are welcome. Afterwards, we will continue the celebration, with drinks, food, and sweets at the Copper Cup in Westlake, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of the many charities and organizations to which Steve generously donated: The ASPCA, The Cleveland Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, PBS, and NPR.

        Bartlett Funeral Home and Crematory is handling the cremation and honored to serve the Clarke family. Online condolences can be made at http://www.bartlettfuneralhomewv.com.


      • #131908

          You said it perfectly, Wally.  We will all miss him.  My heart goes out to his family.

        • #131984

            Steve Clarke’s obituary is now available online.

            Please note that a celebration of his life will be held Saturday, September 30, at Cahoon Park Gazebo in Bay Village.

          • #132193

              Many, many thanks from me to the folks who assisted during this tragedy.  Those of us at the rally who knew the sad news were able to keep it off social media until we were assured Steve’s family was notified first.  Duncan Cooper stepped up to the plate majorly in the aftermath on-scene, assisting another club member. Rich Frantz informed me, and I was able to inform most of our club members at the rally.  Roger Pivonka for coordinating back here in Cleveland with the Bay Village PD, and club members at the rally, Wally for posting the obituary, Ed Desimone for writing the nice tribute to be published in the BMW RA “On The Level” magazine, and Drew Alexander, Jill Veverka (rally chairs), and Sibley Poland (RA President) for their kind words of support, and for the touching mention of Steve at the rally’s closing ceremonies.  I was able to hoist one of Steve’s Yeungling Black and Tan beers with some friends in his honor and memory before I left WVA on Monday.   Also, many thanks to the Taylor County, WVA sheriff’s office, and the Grafton City Hospital.  Sincerest condolences to Steve’s family and friends, of which I am happy to count myself one of. RIP Steve.

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