Dick was born in Las Vegas, Nevada to Dennis John “Jack” Clarke and Martha Schlegel Clarke. He grew up in Denver, graduating from North High School in 1960. After graduation and a year at the University of Colorado, he joined the US Army and served over 7 years with the 10th Special Forces Group. After being honorably discharged from the Army in September 1968, Colorado called him home and he moved to Breckenridge, Colorado, where he worked as a hard-rock miner and electrician for Climax Molybdenum Group. He met and married Elizabeth Ann Aydelotte in September 1969. Their son, Arthur Richardson “Rich” Clarke, was born in October 1970. Dick joined the Summit County Sheriff’s Department and served 8 years until joining Loveland Police Department in 1978. At LPD, “Corporal Clarke’s” special duties included serving as training officer, bomb tech and SWAT sniper. After retiring from LPD in 2005 he enjoyed being a Clerk of the Municipal Court for two years where he continued to see an occasional “past customer.”
Dick said that between "Cop Cards" and Santa Cops, he got to talk to kids who never would have approached him otherwise. Dick’s cards were popular since he held a stick of fake dynamite in every single one of them. Collecting Cop Cards gave the kids in the neighborhoods a reason to run to the patrol car instead of away from it. Throughout his law enforcement career, Dick mastered the dance between being a "regular person" when talking to the kids and “civilians” - and being a "tough cop" when needed. This dance was even more complex because frankly he was never off-duty. Even after being retired 15 years, whenever he went into a restaurant for a meal, he would take a seat facing the entrance. Once a protector, always a protector.
Dick was a true patriot and flew an American flag every day at his Masonville home. In recent years, he added a “thin blue line” flag and flew it with great pride.
Dick was a natural athlete and enjoyed outdoor sports like skiing and especially bicycling, both mountain and road. He participated in over 100 charity bicycle rides all over Colorado and Wyoming. He was also a competitive shooter and did “combat pistol” competition at 34 Colorado Police & Fire Games and two International Police & Fire Games in the US and Canada. When his son became “hot for spots,” he enthusiastically became a horse person and had many Appaloosa horses in his pasture. He often bicycled to Ellis Ranch or Longmont to watch Rich compete in horse shows. When his son graduated from CSU and horses were no longer in the picture, Dick took over the tack room & barn for his custom reloading business/hobby. He loved all shooting sports and delighted in introducing dozens of “newbies” to pistol shooting. From shooting grasshoppers off the deck with a pellet pistol to live round fire shooting at targets at a firing range, he made everyone comfortable handling firearms and knowledgeable about safety. Naturally, he was a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association.
In 2016 Dick was crippled by a chiropractor. The injuries were not life-threatening, but they were life-changing. His determination to regain the use of his legs was unyielding, and after three spinal surgeries, he learned to walk with forearm canes. He continued to work out and improve until he only needed one simple cane. Throughout his ordeal, his sense of humor and positive attitude were an inspiration. It was a personal triumph when he rode his mountain bike down the lane of his Masonville home this Spring!
Dick loved his Australian Shepherd dogs, all adopted. He mourned when his black & white Aussie passed in June, and he talked about how great it would be if we could be reunited with our beloved dogs in an afterlife. His last dog, Pancho, will be at the Celebration of Life. He has been Dick's constant companion since he was adopted 6 years ago.
Dick was preceded in death by his father and mother. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Ann Clarke, his son, Rich Clarke, and his granddaughter, Delaney Dillon Clarke.
Instead of flowers, if you would like to donate to Larimer Humane Society or Santa Cops of Larimer County, I'm sure Dick would be grateful.
A Memorial gathering will be held at Ellis Ranch on Monday, August 12, 2019 from 2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.