Joseph Clarkson

[Age 94] The paper products salesman was an outdoorsman who enjoyed exploring the Chesapeake Bay.

March 24, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun Reporter

Joseph "Boom" Clarkson Jr., a retired salesman and outdoorsman, died in his sleep Tuesday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 94.

Mr. Clarkson was born in Hamilton and raised at Ailsa, his family's home on Ailsa Avenue, which is one of the highest points in the city. The site is now the home of Garrett Heights Elementary School.

"He'd recall to family members of being able to see the Chesapeake Bay from his house on clear days. Other fond memories included riding to church as a little boy with his family in a horse-drawn carriage along Harford Road, then just a dirt road, and summering on Weems Creek near Annapolis," said Anna Clarkson, a granddaughter who lives in New York City.

Mr. Clarkson graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in 1932 and the next year began working as a salesman at Oles Envelope Corp. on East 25th Street. He became an expert on paper products and retired in 1977.

"He could discern any type of paper with his eyes closed," Ms. Clarkson said.

In 1937, he married the former Virginia Reese and settled into a house on Orchard Road in Towson. He lived there for 68 years until late last year, when he moved to the Presbyterian Home of Maryland in Towson. Mrs. Clarkson died in 1980.

Mr. Clarkson enjoyed exploring the Chesapeake Bay, bird-watching, and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. For more than 50 years, he regularly lunched with friends from Poly at the Valley Inn and at Jerry D's, where he liked the crab cakes and the oyster stews.

He was the quintessential Marylander who "seldom left that state in his 94 years," and "loved Baltimore," his granddaughter said.

"He attributed his longevity to not smoking, hiking in the woods behind his Towson home, taking a nap every afternoon for the last 30 years and having an easygoing temperament," she said.

He was given the nickname "Boom" after the birth of his first grandchild.

"Boom is otherwise a quiet man with a hearty, commanding voice - a voice that could awaken a sleeping baby in the next county or incite a house full of dogs to riot - it is a voice more at home with trees, constellations and wildlife than with four walls and windows," wrote his daughter, Sally C. Kauffman of Baldwin, in an 80th birthday tribute.

He was a longtime communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson.

Services will be held at 10 a.m today at the Lemmon Funeral Home, 10 W. Padonia Road, Timonium.

Also surviving are two sons, Joseph Clarkson III of White Hall and John N. Clarkson of Timonium; a sister, Caroline A. Price of Farmington, Conn.; nine other grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Another son, Thomas Anthony "Tony" Clarkson, died in 2001.

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