Hewitt Raphael Clarke Jr.
July 7, 1931  -  August 28, 2018

Hewitt Raphael Clarke Jr.

St. Patrick Catholic Church
2601 Davis Street
Meridian, MS  39301
Friday, September 21, 2018
10:00 am
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Catholic Cemetery
39th Ave.
Meridian, MS  39301
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I served in the Army.

Noted author and researcher Hewitt Raphael Clarke Jr. loved East Mississippi and its history. On Friday, he'll be remembered here and laid to rest.

A memorial Mass is planned at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick Church for Mr. Clarke, followed by a military burial at the church cemetery and a celebration of his life at 1 p.m. at Weidmann’s Restaurant.

Mr. Clarke, 87, died Aug. 28 in his hometown of Conroe, Texas while working on his tenth book, according to his daughter Cynara Pellegrino, of The Woodlands, Texas.

“He was diagnosed with stage four cancer in May, untreatable, and I, my sister and her husband, moved in with him to help him out,” Pellegrino said. “It was such a gift for me to provide for my Dad like he had for me, and I was so grateful to have that time with him. I learned so many more virtues of him that it was a wonderful way for him to go out.”

She said her father faced the news of his terminal illness with an ancient Roman phrase: “A coward dies a thousand deaths, but a brave man dies only once.”

Even though the diagnosis was terminal, she said he still wanted to be treated through chemotherapy.

Mr. Clarke’s books were all based on East Mississippi history. He was born July 7, 1931 in Montgomery, Alabama, but his family soon returned to East Mississippi. According to his website, rebelwriter.com, Clarke’s ancestors arrived in the Meridian area around 1870 and were as much a part of the history of the region as were the railroads, and, perhaps, the piney woods themselves.

As a small child he and his family lived in one of the buildings that had survived Sherman’s 1864 expedition through Meridian. The building is now known as, “Merrehope,” the 26-room Victorian mansion that serves as a history museum.

While attending Meridian High School, he was a reporter for the school newspaper, “The Wildcat,” and upon graduation attended and graduated from the University of Mississippi, earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree before entering the U.S. Army. He trained as an intelligence officer collecting information about the Communist party and its’ activities around the world.

His first job in the insurance industry, was in New York where he met his wife, Lois. They moved from New York to California, then to Texas, but he loved his East Mississippi roots and the history of the state, according to his daughter.

“He was a die-hard Civil War enthusiast,” Pellegrino said. “He went throughout the state to research the exciting lives of people in Mississippi and was proud of his Deep South heritage.”

He was an active member and former commander of Gransbury’s Texas Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, his local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Texas, and lectured on Texas history at Lone Star College.

Author Hewitt Clarke, who died Aug. 28, in Texas, had a spirit of adventure. He ran with the pulls at age 70 in Pamplona, Spain. He's shown waving at center, wearing a red beret.

Living life to its fullest was an example Mr. Clarke set for himself and his family. He scaled peaks in both the United States and Central America, hiked a peak in Guatemala at the age of 52, climbed Mt. Whitney at the age of 55, hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon at 57 and ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain at age 70. He also enjoyed adventures at home.

“He took many trips on his boats with friends and family,” Pellegrino said.

When the locals in Spain found out he was an author, they nicknamed him, “Papa,” as another bearded writer, Ernest Hemingway, had liked to be called.

Mr. Clarke’s first book, “Thunder at Meridian,” was published in 1995 and took more than 20 years to complete as he made sure his research was thorough and precise. In his research of another book, “He Saw the Elephant,” a Confederate naval saga of Lt. Charles “Savvy” Read, he followed the voyage of the Confederate ram “Arkansas” alone in a small inflatable boat going more than 150 miles down the Yazoo River.

Pellegrino completing his tenth book "is a possibility.” But neither she nor her sister, Tara Clausen, have written much since they left college. Her father’s research assistant visited him in Texas from Kansas to possibly finish the book, but ultimately it didn’t work out.

In lieu of flowers, Pellegrino said it was her father’s wishes that donations be made to either the local chapter of the VFW or the one he belonged to in Conroe, Texas.

For a full listing of Clarke’s books, or to purchase a book, visit his website.

His great grandparents were pioneer residents of Meridian, MS who settled from Mobile, AL in 1878. Hewitt was a graduate of Meridian High School and The University of Mississippi. He met his wife Lois while working in Buffalo, NY where they married in 1961.

Hewitt was a proud veteran and served in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps in Korea. He was an active member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, President of the Texas Heritage Society and member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars of The United States Post 4709 in Conroe, TX.

Hewitt was a historian who appreciated his heritage of the Deep South. He wrote 9 books about Mississippi history and taught Texas history at Lone Star College for several years.

He was an entrepreneur who dabbled in many business ventures. He was the owner of an insurance adjusting company, real estate investor and developer, private investigator and author.

In his spare time, Hewitt had many incredible adventures with his family. He hiked the Grand Canyon, climbed Mt. Whitney at the age of 50, an active volcano in Guatemala and ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain at the age of 70.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years Lois Brabander Clarke; daughter Cynara Pellegrino and husband Greg; daughter Tara Clausen and husband Richard; grandchildren Alexandra, Dominic, Brett Ashley and Isabella Pellegrino; Caroline and Catherine Clausen; one sibling, Sybil Gribble. He was preceded in death by his parents Hewitt Raphael Clarke, Sr. and Beatrice Owen Lockard; and brother-in-law, John Gribble.

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