Mark Douglas Clardy
Mark Douglas Clardy, a friend to so many, passed away peacefully at his home in Overland Park, Kansas on January 4th, 2021. He was 67.
Mark was born on November 23, 1953 with big brown eyes and an instant smile, and was welcomed home by Marion “Sonny” and Mildred Swenson Clardy, in Savannah, Missouri, where he built a tremendous life. Mark spent his childhood making memories with his younger brother, Michael, and many cousins, aunts, and uncles in a large family there in northwest Missouri. He was the gem in both Grandma Pauline VonKaenel Clardy’s and Aunt Mildred Clardy’s eyes. He earned good grades in school and at a young age developed a love of music. (Ever the packrat, Mark left behind several of those old grade cards as proof of how great of a student he was!) Throughout school and well into his 20’s, Mark spent many years in a band playing the keyboard. In the mid-1970s, he was in a band alongside the infamous Steve Walsh (who later became part of the group Kansas.) He loved music and built quite a collection of records, CDs, and cassettes that he still loved to jam out to and finger-thump the steering wheel in his Cadillac Eldorado until he passed. He knew everything about every song, group and artist, and wasn’t afraid to tell you every single tiny detail about it!
In the summer of 1974, he met and loved Debra Peek, where together they married and had their son, Michael Douglas. Mark passed on his love of music, love of talking and socializing, and love of living life to Mike.
In 1980, Mark met and married Tillie Fannen, and welcomed her daughter Kris (Cornelius) Peterson, as his daughter. In 1983, the family welcomed a new baby boy, Matthew Clardy. The family enjoyed several family vacations and trips to the Lake. They built their home in Overland Park, Kansas. Mark passed along his superior organization skills and story-telling to Matt.
Throughout his life, Mark was a dedicated employee, whether working for his father at Clardy’s Dry Goods (department store), Coca-Cola Bottlers, or any number of the car dealerships he managed throughout his life. At one point when Mark was managing at McDonalds, he attended their Hamburger University…and his love for McDonald’s certainly passed on to all of his grandsons!
In the late 1990s, Mark became engaged to Pamela Wehr. Together, Mark and Pam loved to go see live music, vacation, laugh with their children, including Pamela’s daughter, Christy (Cockburn) Mann and her husband, Marc, and drink Busch beer. If Mark went into a bar that didn’t serve Busch beer, he would turn around and walk right out, no question. He certainly was a man that never patronized businesses where he didn’t agree with their practices, just ask Kohl’s or Ryan’s Cafeteria.
In early 2006, Mark invited Ginger Wall & her pup Harley to live with him in Kansas. They shared a special relationship where they enjoyed each other’s sarcastic sense of humor, babysitting the grandsons, and going out to eat at Red Lobster or of course for the grand slam special at Denney’s. Together they had two dogs, Harley and Hooch, and one of the best photos of Mark was on the day they brought Hooch home. Together they both helped care for Mark’s Aunt Mildred Clardy, who moved in with Mark in 2008 after battling some health issues. She lived with them for two years until she passed in 2010. Mark and Ginger sure had a good time; they bickered like old folks, but loved each other dearly. Mark welcomed Ginger’s son, Dillon Aguilar, as his own, and enjoyed having a cold beer or watching a Chiefs game with Dillon. Ginger passed in September 2019, and Mark now joins her to watch over us all.
Mark always said that his parents that adopted him were his parents, no question asked. However, a few years back during the “Ancestry.com” craze, he took a chance, and with the help of both Matt and Mike, he connected with his sister, Becky (Dean) Ringgold. Over the last two years, the two of them spent hours upon hours on the phone, laughing and learning about one another, their life experiences and their families. Mark and Becky shared photos of one another and their children and grandchildren, and recently Mark met his younger brother, Nelson, and was looking forward to continuing to build relationships with his new family, and meeting others, as well.
Mark was a lover of tradition, and kept every piece of handmade furniture that was in the Clardy family, dating back to the 1800s when his great grandparents travelled across the country and settled in Savannah, MO. Mark treasured all special things, and kept small handwritten notes, cards, his grandson’s first handwriting, old tax returns, divorce agreements, and every bank statement he ever had! He was incredibly organized, and everything always had its spot; it would drive him crazy if any one thing was out of place. He was an avid supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, donating every month for several years. He followed in his father’s footsteps and was a Freemason Moila Shriner for several decades.
He didn’t know a stranger, and always had a story related to something that then led into another story, which then led into another story. He could wake the dead with his snoring, was planning to play Santa next Christmas with his long beard he was growing, he loved to flirt with beautiful women, and his favorite phrase was “You betcha!” Mark never missed at St. Patty’s Day parade, and proudly wore green to celebrate his Clardy Irish heritage!
Mark held very special place in his heart for old friends, but the loves of his life were his young grandsons, Mattix, Kellin, Teschner, Broderick, Keaton and Nate. He loved to say “Hey Buddy”, and come by to surprise the boys for a visit. Without fail, he took them all to the Shriners Circus in St Joseph every spring. He truly loved calling himself the “Patriarch” of the Clardy family, and was proud to have so many young men to carry on his name. His legacy will live on as we all will continue share the wonderful stories, with each of the boys, of how truly special, funny, unique, caring, and cool their “Grumpo” / Papa Mark was.
Mark leaves behind his son, Mike with Aimee, Teschner, Brode, and Keaton; his son, Matt with Nicole, Mattix, Kellin, Bryce, Brooklynn, and Hunter; and daughter, Kris with RJ, Ben, Josh, Jacob and Nate, as well as Dillon Aguilar. He also leaves behind his sister Becky Ringgold, brother Nelson Dean, numerous cousins, and hundreds of friends. All of us will miss his smile, his stories, and his traditional way he looked at the world. We are all better people for knowing him.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 26, 2021 from 12 noon – 3 pm at the Pizza Royal, 5723 Lake Avenue, St. Joseph, MO 64504.
Mark’s wishes were to be cremated and have a party to celebrate the life he lived. With the constraints of COVID-19, the family postponed the celebration of life until June 26th. There will be plenty of classic rock music, plenty of ice-cold Busch beer, and plenty of long stories to be told.
Carry on my wayward, son….there’ll be peace when you are done…lay your weary head to rest…don’t you cry no more… we love you, Dad.