Family Stories

Obituary of Rowland Albert Clarkson, died 3 July 2007

The Rev Rowland Albert Clarkson, of Cottage Drive, Greeneville, a retired former rector of St James Episcopal church, died Tuesday at his home after several months of declining health. He was 78.

Born December 20, 1928, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Rev Clarkson was the son of the late Albert Luther Clarkson and Blanch Bernice Rowland Clarkson, whome he described in obituary notes he prepared as "wonderful parents."

He attended public schools in Oklahoma City and was a graduate of Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma.

He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force in the early 1950s.

On November 22 1950 he "married his very beloved, Godgiven wife, Germaine Millspaugh Clarkson" he wrote in his obituary notes, and to their union were born "four wonderful children," including a daughter, Lynn Aubin Clarkson, who is deceased.

He was employed at the Oklahoma Hardware Company in Oklahoma City for 25 years, but he resigned in 1974 to enter the ministry of the Episcopal Church.

After attending the General Theological Seminary in New York City, he was ordained a priest at St Paul's Cathedral in Oklahoma City.

Following his ordination, Rev Clarkson moved to Morristown (Tennessee) with his wife and their young daughter, Laura Lee.

In Morristown, he was employed during the week by Wallace Hardware Company, and he served various Episcopal churches in East Tennessee on the weekends.

In 1984 he retired from Wallace Hardware.

In 1986 Rev Clarkson was called to be the rector of St James Episcopal Church in Greeneville.

After 12 years in that position, he retired in 1998, but he continued to serve various Episcopal churches in East Tennessee when there was a temporary need for a priest.

Speaking about his life, Rev Clarkson recorded in his notes that his "number one desire" was :to love God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit" - with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love his neighbors as himself.

Survivors include, in addition to his widow; three children: Leslie Germaine Clarkson Richards of Roanoke Virginia; Rowland Lance Clarkson, of Greeneville; and Laura Lee Clarkson Johnson of Nashville; two sons-in-law: Dr Steve Richards of Roanoke, Robert Johnson of Nashville, and Judith Clarkson of Greenville; two granddaughters; Aubin Richards and Abigail Richards, both of Roanoke; a step-granddaughter and two step-grandsons: Nicole Johnson of Nashville, Paul McCray of Greeneville and Aaron Fellers of Johnson City.

A celebration of Rev Clarkson's life will be held at 3 pm Friday at St James Episcopal Church. Bishop Charles von Rosenburg and the Rev Carolyn Isley will officiate.

Following the service, the family will receive friends at the church.

Interment will take place in Rose Hill Burial Park in Oklahoma City.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Rowland Clarkson Memorial Fund, St James Episcopal Church, 107 W Church Street, Greeneville, Tennessee 37743.

Condolences may be sent to the Clarkson Family at

Rose Hill Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Obituary in Greeneville Sun, dated 4 July 2007 (Greeneville Tennessee).