Larry Denmon Clarke



Order of Canada, L.L.D. (Hons). Served as a radio technician in the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII. Founder, President and CEO of SPAR Aerospace Ltd.

Ordre du Canada, L.L.D. (Hons). A servi comme technicien radio dans la Marine royale canadienne pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Fondateur, Président et PDG de SPAR Aerospace Ltd.


Obituary - Avis de décès

Larry Denmon Clarke

1925 - 2015

Larry Clarke passed away peacefully on October 22, 2015, in West Vancouver. His ten children survive him: Ian, Sarah, Colley, Alex, Adrienne and Andrew Clarke and Jill, Tom, Penny and Sally Rigby. He is also survived by his 19 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; wife, Joan (Rigby nee Stewart) Clarke and sister, Val Ives. His father, Edward; his mother, Audrey and brother, Peter predeceased Larry. His first wife, Barbara (nee Colley) Clarke, died in 1974.

Larry was born in London, England, in 1925, and moved to Canada in 1939 after attending Eton College. Upon graduating from Trinity College School, he served as a technician in the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII. In 1949, Larry earned a law degree from Osgoode Law School and went to work under C.D. Howe in the Canadian Defense Department during the Korean War. This was followed by 14 years with de Havilland Aircraft of Canada. In 1967, he led the acquisition of SPAR Aerospace Ltd. from de Havilland and, as founder, president and chief executive officer, built SPAR into a world-class space technology company.

SPAR was best known for the Canadarm designed for the Space Shuttle orbiters. As a result of this innovation, the country enjoyed a high profile within the U.S. space program, NASA. As a true visionary, Larry's commitment and dedication to developing Canada's aerospace industry provided opportunities for thousands of engineers.

Larry was an inductee of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and a founding Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. In 2004, he was awarded the Canadian Space Agency's Chapman Award for 'his remarkable contribution to the advancement of the Canadian Space Program.' Larry held honorary degrees from York University, Athabasca University, Ecole Polytechnique and Ryerson Polytechnic University. He was Chancellor of York University from 1986 - 1991 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988.

Those around him knew that when Larry put his mind to something - from business to boating - he would excel. Harnessing his skills, he built and designed several boats with the acuity of an engineer's mind toward form and function. In every pursuit, he was patient and exacting, understanding that great creations required patience and commitment. Larry was respected for selflessly sharing his knowledge and passions with entrepreneurs, friends and family alike in a kind and considerate manner.

In retirement, Larry shifted his focus from aerospace to the joys of being on the water, spending his remaining years with what gave him the most pleasure - family and boats. As a result, Larry has left those he loved with treasured memories of cruising the West Coast with him blissfully at the helm. He is greatly missed.

Thanks go to the attentive caregivers at Hollyburn House. Condolences and memories can be forwarded through


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