John Carl Clarke - affectionately known as Jayce - peacefully passed away at 68 years old on May 2, 2023 surrounded by his family. A life-long resident of the Mahoning Valley, he was born to Herbert and Natalie (nee Franklin) Clarke Hillegas before graduating from Liberty High School and attending Ohio University and the Ohio State University.
Jayce was drawn to people, no matter where he went, no matter what he was doing. He was a free spirit and, in the course of his life, never met a stranger. From a career in sales and political relations, to the things he enjoyed outside of the office, Jayce's passions reflected that magnetism. Whether he was sunbathing, cheering on the Cleveland Browns, being swept away by Stephen King novels, The Beatles, or quietly embracing the profound majesty of the natural world, he gratefully accepted the gifts life offered. John enjoyed comedy and cartoons, especially Seinfeld and Silly Symphonies. John was also an illustrator, and dreamt of being a cartoonist, a quiet hobby he kept for years.
He will be lovingly remembered by those closest to him for his wit, humor, and gentle disposition.
He is survived by his mother, Natalie Clarke Hillegas, and his sister, Shari Clarke, both of Poland. His memory will be carried forward by his four beloved daughters, Melanie (Luke) Clarke-Penella, Lisa Clarke, Macie (John) Glenn of Youngstown, and Teralyn (fiancé Tyler Smith) Clarke of Boardman. He leaves behind six grandchildren, Ryder, Kyrie, Sophie, Lydia, Julian, and Tony; and two nieces, Jamie Phelan and Pamela (Ken) Zitello, both of Poland; and great-nephew Spencer Zitello.
In addition to his father, Herbie, he was preceded in death by his step-father, Maurice "Bud" Hillegas; and siblings, Susan Phelan and infant siblings Kimberly and David Clarke.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at 11 a.m., at the Poland Presbyterian Church, 2 Poland Manor, with the Rev. Dr. Paul W. Anderson officiating. Family and friends will be received on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cunningham-Becker Funeral Home, 270 N. Main St., and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., at Poland Presbyterian Church. Interment will be at Tod Homestead Cemetery.
Please visit www.beckerobits.com to share memories and online condolences with the family.