The ECA DIG Award committee has named John J. Clarke, III, as the association’s 33rd posthumous recipient recognizing his achievements of Dignity, Integrity and Generosity – DIG – in the construction industry.
John was born in Chicago on June 19, 1943 to John J. Clarke, II and Anita Stricklin Clarke. On March 29, 2018, he passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance. He was 74 years old.
The eldest of four children, John grew up in the small Northern California town of Marysville, where he attended Marysville High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from California State University, Chico, where he also completed graduate course work in soil mechanics.
John and the love of his life, Sarah (Hennes), the daughter of a civil engineering professor, were married in Seattle in 1965. In 1967, the couple moved to Pasadena so that John could work at the Los Angeles County Road Department in design, construction and planning. When John left the road department to work for a private construction firm located in the South Bay, they moved first to Hermosa Beach and then to Manhattan Beach, where they lived together for 44 years.
In 1976, John founded Clarke Contracting Corp. in Compton. The company’s headquarters is currently located in Lawndale. Its work has included general engineering projects involving earth work, storm drains, structural concrete, grading and sewers. As president of Clarke Contracting, John oversaw public works projects in support of Southern California’s infrastructure. Because of his integrity and competence, he earned the admiration and respect of many in the construction industry. He was known as a “nice guy” who got things done through “congenial negotiations and quiet determination.”
John and his union-affiliated company were active members of the ECA and the Southern California Contractors Association (SCCA).
In addition to his wife of 52 years, John is survived by his younger brother, Michael, who worked with him at Clarke Contracting, as well as three children, and six grandchildren. John’s eldest child, Bridget, is an attorney who lives in Berkeley with her husband Andrew and their two daughters. His son Brian works at Clarke Contracting and resides in Manhattan Beach with his wife Stacey and their two children. Brian’s twin brother, Robert, likewise works at Clarke Contracting and lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife Kathy and their two sons. Throughout his life, John was a talented and enthusiastic athlete. He competed in triathlons, marathons, 10K running races and masters swimming.
At this year’s DIG Award ceremony, the ECAwill continue its tradition of honoring individuals who have laid the foundations upon which this industry is built. Proceeds from the DIG Award benefit the ECAScholarship fund. The 33rd Annual ECA DIG Award will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021, beginning with a hosted reception at 6:00 p.m., and followed by dinner and ceremony at 7:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles Millennium Biltmore Hotel located at 506 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California.