P. Stephen Clarkson Jr., 65, Social Security analyst

October 25, 2004

P. Stephen Clarkson Jr., a 30-year analyst for the Social Security Administration and Sherlock Holmes scholar, died Tuesday at Winchester Medical Center in Virginia of colon cancer. The Berkeley Springs, W.Va., resident was 65.

Mr. Clarkson was born in Baltimore and earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maryland, College Park. He lived in Randallstown and, for 16 years, in Ellicott City before moving to a mountaintop cabin in Berkeley Springs two years ago.

After college he went to work for the Social Security Administration, where he remained until 1993, becoming a senior health and human services analyst.

During his career, Mr. Clarkson helped write the first regulations for Medicare and served as a liaison between the White House and the Social Security Administration.

Mr. Clarkson, had a passion for the stories of Sherlock Holmes that began at age 8 when his father, also a Holmes scholar, gave him one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books.

Mr. Clarkson was a 30-year member of the Baker Street Irregulars, an invitation-only Holmes society based in New York, and contributed articles to the group's journal. He was also a co-founder and former leader, or "gasogene," of Howard County's Sherlock Holmes society, Watson's Tin Box.

He was the author of two books: a collection of Holmes-related quizzes and The Canonical Compendium, a catalog of people, places, animals and items and the Holmes stories in which they appear.

"His biggest strength was he was brilliant," said his son Kenneth L. Clarkson of Lexington, S.C. "He was a private man, but he also wanted to share his knowledge and the gift he was given."

Mr. Clarkson's three marriages ended in divorce.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Witzke Funeral Home, 1630 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville.

In addition to his son, he is survived by another son, Scott A. Clarkson of Charlotte, N.C.; and four grandchildren.

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