LAPEER, Michigan –For decades to come, all who enter the newly-renovated Lapeer Athletic Complex will be greeted by the memory of one of our community’s best and brightest, gone too soon.
The Clarke B. Adams Memorial Fund generously donated the funds to erect brass signage at the main entrance to the complex; the final piece of the three-year renovation was unveiled this week. The monument honors the men and women in our community who have generously supported this ambitious project.
The plaque signage is supported by two stone pillars that once stood at the entry to the athletic fields at the original Lapeer High School, built in the 1920s. The pillars were painstakingly transplanted by members of our building and grounds staff to be the first thing visitors see upon entering the complex. They represent our passage from the past to the future, commemorating the 2014 reunification of Lapeer High School.
Clarke, a graduate of Lapeer High School (1970), embodied the competitive spirit of Lapeer. Life was a team sport for Clarke, and his memory still endures in the lives of his teammates — his friends and family.
“I’ve never known anyone like him and I’m pretty sure I never will,” said Jack Nesbitt, one of Clarke’s closest friends. “He loved life and had an amazing personality that just made you want to be with him.”
Just months after Clarke passed away unexpectedly in 2001, a group of his friends established a memorial fund to honor him and, by connection, the community he loved.
“He was an honest and humble man who loved others and to whom many were drawn as friends, coworkers and customers,” said Bob Van DeVenter. “His handshake was a commitment.”
Clarke loved sports, especially basketball, and was an accomplished student-athlete. After graduation from LHS, he attended Central Michigan University where he earned his BBA in finance. After a stint in the banking industry, he served as vice president of New Century Auto Sales in Lapeer (now Rightway Auto and Gateway Financial).
Although many of Clarke’s friends do not reside in the Lapeer area, they insisted that their generous contributions support young people in our community. That’s the way he would have wanted it.
Clarke’s lifelong friend, Dick Rickett, also passed away suddenly just a couple years after Clarke. His wife and children requested memorials for Dick be made to the Clarke B. Adams Memorial Fund. Both men graduated from Lapeer High School in 1970 and from CMU years later.
“They were both full of integrity and good humor,” said Susan Wilmers, Clarke’s sister. “Friends and families of both men chose to turn the loss into a positive experience for the young people in this community.”
In the past 15 years, over $60,000 has been given in scholarships to Lapeer graduates. The selection committee seeks out students who share many of the traits that made Clarke a friend, mentor and role model to many — honesty, integrity and work ethic.
“Without the generous support of the people of goodwill in this community, we would not be the District we are today,” said Matt Wandrie, Lapeer Community Schools Superintendent. “We are so appreciative of their support of our students and staff.”
For their generous donation and continued support of the students of Lapeer Community Schools, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Clarke B. Adams Memorial Fund.
Anyone interested in donating to the Clarke B. Adams Fund, please visit the Lapeer Community Foundation website at lapeercountycf.org.
The Lapeer County Community Foundation
- Builds and manages permanent endowment funds from a wide variety of donors to provide grants that enhance the quality of life in Lapeer County, now and for future generations.
- Is a local organization directed by a local volunteer Board of Trustees focusing on local community needs for all of Lapeer County.
- Is managed locally and known for prudent stewardship and investment practices.
- Focuses on long-term enhanced community quality of life through endowment funds.