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Timothy Bernard Clarke was born to Bernard and Rose (Manthe) Clarke on March 26, 1954, in Mitchell, SD. He was raised on a farm near Fedora, SD, along with his older siblings: sisters Bernetta and Jean, and brother David.
Tim attended school in Fedora until it closed in 1966. Thereafter, he attended school in Howard, where he graduated in 1972.
As a young teen, having been exposed to mechanics from an early age, he became the youngest Yamaha dealer, both selling and repairing motorcycles. While the business didn’t last his lifetime, the skills he developed there did. It seemed that he could fix anything, no matter how broken it appeared.
After high school graduation, Tim worked as a teller at Miner County Bank. He simultaneously began his flight training, which eventually led to a commercial pilot’s license and a crop dusting business: Clarke Aerial Spraying. His pilot’s license also afforded him varied opportunities, such as working occasionally for the government by hunting coyotes or spraying blackbirds to track their migration, or sometimes just offering airplane rides to delight the kids in the community.
On November 18, 1978, he married his sweetheart, Peggy Austreim, and they went on to have four much-loved daughters: Abigail, Megan, Emily, and Allison. Their family years at home were sweet and full, as they kept busy attending sporting events, concerts, plays and recitals, and extending unlimited hospitality to all the girls’ friends.
During his years crop dusting, Tim shifted his full-time work back to the family business, Clarke and Sons Implement, where he sold and repaired farm implements, facilitated snow removal, and always made ample time for customer interactions at the front counter and back table, where he occasionally joined in a game of cards.
In 1992, he got the opportunity to purchase the homestead that his great-grandparents had worked the land to earn: a space he had countless fond memories of from his early life. He always said that the purchase was made with his heart, not his brain, and it was true. For the rest of his life, he put his heart into that farm, carefully dedicating and planting areas for pheasant habitat, hunting pheasants and deer with family and friends, and creating varied spaces for decades of happy memory-making for all who have been blessed to visit it, especially his grandchildren.
After a thirty-year career at Clarke and Sons, Tim returned to the Miner County Bank, which later became River’s Edge Bank, where he worked as a loan officer and vice president until his retirement in 2022.
In his later years, as his body was overwhelmed by several health challenges, including polycystic kidney disease, his heart was even more overwhelmed in all the best ways by his burgeoning family, which today includes nineteen grandchildren: ten grandsons and nine granddaughters. Nearly every week up to the end included multi-day sleepovers by various combinations of grandchildren, who delighted in time spent with him at the farm, playing foosball, or even just watching tv during his many dialysis “parties.”
On July 6, 2023, Tim offered the Avera medical community an opportunity of a lifetime when he opted to have his ailing kidneys removed in a complicated surgery. To everyone’s great surprise and delight, the surgery was very successful, and nearly 35 pounds of cysts and kidney tissue were removed! Recovery, however, proved to be difficult, as post-operative complications piled up. Finally, on July 21, 2023, he was discharged and spent the following weeks in further recovery, as he enjoyed showing others his dramatic new physique.
After all he had survived, it came somewhat as a shock when he became short of breath and his heart stopped beating early on August 31st, 2023. He took his final plane ride in an air ambulance from Madison to Sioux Falls, where he received care from family and medical professionals at Avera until he took his final breath at 2:52 am on September 3, 2023.
Grateful for having shared in his life are his wife Peggy, daughters: Abigail Bisschop (Chris), Megan Wright (Andy), Emily Heilman (Shane) and Allison Muilenburg (Tim), grandchildren: Kian, Addyson, Elsa, Hannah, Maxwell, and Levi Bisschop, Margaret, Judah, Gabriella, Josephine and Abraham Wright, Kaleah, Elijah, Jonas and Ezra Heilman, and Molly, Susannah, Macallister and Vanek Muilenburg, sisters: Bernetta (Dick) Burghardt and Jean Clarke (Jeff Krieger), and a brother, David (Wanda) Clarke.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bernard and Rose Clarke, Peggy’s parents, Orrin and Margaret Austreim, and his sister-in-law, Kathleen (Austreim) Quinn. Tim was living proof that a quiet and humble life is often the best. He will be greatly missed.
Funeral services will be 11am, Friday, September 8, 2023, at Beach United Methodist Church, Howard, SD, with burial to follow in Morgans Cemetery, Fedora, SD. Visitation will be Thursday, September 7, 2023 from 5pm to 7pm, with a Prayer and reflection of Memories at 7pm, all at the Methodist Church in Howard.
Livestream visitation Thursday evening on https://www.youtube.com/live/npgukabXCeo?si=VM3xy-NASqfa6Fts
Livestream funeral service Friday morning on https://www.youtube.com/live/_PKoS4_DGO0?si=PTo9Sro4kvrO_fWR