Clarke passed away peacefully on October 22, 2015, in West Vancouver. His ten
children survive him: Ian, Sarah, Colley, Alex, Adrienne and Andrew Clarke and
Jill, Tom, Penny and Sally Rigby. He is also survived by his 19 grandchildren;
four great-grandchildren; wife, Joan (Rigby nee Stewart) Clarke and sister, Val
Ives. His father, Edward; his mother, Audrey and brother, Peter predeceased
Larry. His first wife, Barbara (nee Colley) Clarke, died in 1974.
Larry was born in London, England, in 1925, and moved to Canada in 1939 after
attending Eton College. Upon graduating from Trinity College School,
he served as a technician in the Royal Canadian Navy
during WWII. In 1949, Larry earned a law degree from Osgoode Law
School and went to work under C.D. Howe in the Canadian Defense Department
during the Korean War. This was followed by 14 years with de Havilland Aircraft
of Canada. In 1967, he led the acquisition of SPAR
Aerospace Ltd. from de Havilland and, as founder, president and chief executive
officer, built SPAR into a world-class space technology company.
SPAR was best known for the Canadarm designed for the Space Shuttle orbiters. As
a result of this innovation, the country enjoyed a high profile within the U.S.
space program, NASA. As a true visionary, Larry's commitment and dedication to
developing Canada's aerospace industry provided opportunities for thousands of
Larry was an inductee of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and a founding
Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. In 2004, he was
awarded the Canadian Space Agency's Chapman Award for 'his remarkable
contribution to the advancement of the Canadian Space Program.' Larry held
honorary degrees from York University, Athabasca University, Ecole Polytechnique
and Ryerson Polytechnic University. He was Chancellor of York University from
1986 - 1991 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988.
Those around him knew that when Larry put his mind to something - from business
to boating - he would excel. Harnessing his skills, he built and designed
several boats with the acuity of an engineer's mind toward form and function. In
every pursuit, he was patient and exacting, understanding that great creations
required patience and commitment. Larry was respected for selflessly sharing his
knowledge and passions with entrepreneurs, friends and family alike in a kind
and considerate manner.
In retirement, Larry shifted his focus from aerospace to the joys of being on
the water, spending his remaining years with what gave him the most pleasure -
family and boats. As a result, Larry has left those he loved with treasured
memories of cruising the West Coast with him blissfully at the helm. He is
Thanks go to the attentive caregivers at Hollyburn House. Condolences and
memories can be forwarded through email@example.com