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Advertising pioneer George P. Clarke dies

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George Clarke, founder of George P. Clarke Advertising Inc., died peacefully on Oct. 10, 2009, from complications of cancer. He was 86.

Clarke Advertising has handled a number of tire industry accounts over the years, including Hennessy Industries Inc. and Hankook Tire America Corp., all from its New York City base.

Clarke was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 28, 1923. The son of Michael Henry and Mary (O'Hara) Clarke, George was a World War II veteran, and a graduate of Pratt Institute.

He began his advertising career at Remington Rand, where he wrote the first computer ad for the Univac, the world’s first super computer. In 1952, George joined the J. Walter Thompson agency, where he worked with some of their most prestigious accounts, including Purolator Filters.

In 1965, he founded his namesake ad agency, which specialized in marketing and advertising to automotive and financial clients. The agency continues to this day under the stewardship of his son, Richard Clarke, who refers to his dad as an "advertising pioneer."

George was an accomplished impressionistic (oil on canvas) painter, and leaves behind his life's works of art. His last work was his view of the Hudson River from his home in Rhinebeck.

A true philanthropist, George could never say no to a worthy cause, and donated advertising services and his original works of art to fundraising events for the Grace Smith House and the Junior League of Poughkeepsie. He also was a member of the Barrett Art Center School of Art, and spent many enjoyable hours painting with Seth Nadel and his art class.

A longtime resident of the Hudson Valley and Huntington, Long Island, Clarke is survived by his wife, Juliana Ruhland-Clarke, and stepdaugher, Eva-Maria (Nate) Dickinson. He also is survived by daughters Betsy and Diane Delehanty (Kevin); sons James (Catherine), Richard (Nanci ) and Robert; and their mother, Judy Jones Clarke.

Donations in his honor may be made to the 2 BigHearts Foundation ( and the Barrett Art Center School of Art in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

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