Irl Clarke

Return to Class of 1954

Irl Hicks Clarke, Jr. age 78 of Knoxville, Iowa, passed away Thursday morning, May 14, 2015, at the emergency room of the Knoxville Hospital & Clinic.

Irl’s wishes were to be cremated and a visitation will begin at 2:00 P.M., Sunday, May 17, 2015 at the Winfield Funeral Home of Knoxville. Irl’s family will be present at the funeral home from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., Sunday.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M., Monday, May 18, 2015 at the First United Methodist Church of Knoxville, with Pastor Brent Hanna officiating. A private family burial will be held at a later date.

Irl was born October 18, 1936 to Irl and Lola (Webb) Clarke, Sr. in Knoxville, Iowa. He attended Knoxville High School and graduated from the Class of 1954.

In 1955 Irl enlisted into the United States Army. He served from 1955 to 1957 and was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas.
After his service Irl went to visit his brother in California and was hired as a union iron worker. He lived in the Orange County and Garden Grove, California area and was an iron worker for 30 years. He retired as a foreman. After retirement Irl moved back to Knoxville and worked at Griffins Nursing Home and later the V.A. Hospital as a nurse’s assistant.

After moving back to Knoxville Irl meet the love of his life Esther Estelle Grinstead. They dated for many years and on January 11, 2003 at the Senior Center in Knoxville were united in marriage.

Irl was a member of the First United Methodist Church and a devoted Hawkeye fan. He loved all of his large family and his many 4th of July parties. He liked 50’s rock & roll, cards, pinnacle and pitch.

One of his passions in life was sobriety. He shared over 32 years of sobriety with friends and family and was a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He also was awarded the Hearts and Hands Award at the V.A. Hospital during his employment.

Irl is survived by his wife Esther Clarke of Knoxville; his children, Deborah Clarke-Lozano of Knoxville, Yvonne (Troy) Lynn of Houston, TX, Irl (Donell) Clarke III of Knoxville, James (Sara) Clarke of Pella; Esther’s children, Esther Dale Hartz and Vince Buchholz of Tama, Greg (Karen) Grinstead of Pella and Eric (Connie) Grinstead of Knoxville; 24 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Irl is also survived by his brother William (Glenna) Clarke of Knoxville.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Irl and Lola Clarke, Sr.; one sister Betty Clark; and one brother Tom Clarke, Sr.; and two nephews, Bruce Clarke and Tom Clarke, Jr.

A memorial in Irl’s memory has been established to the Knoxville Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. Condolences may be sent to