John Mills Clarke

June 7, 1949February 1, 2020

John Clarke, 70, of Saskatoon, SK passed away Feb. 1, 2020 after an incredibly active life. He is survived by his partner (married 48 years), Fran Clarke (nee Biram), children Neil Clarke (Susan) and Kyla Clarke (Myles), grandchildren Cole, Alex and Brianna and sister-in-law Joyce Clarke. He is predeceased by his brother Craig Clarke. John was born to Helen and Mills Clarke. He spent his formative years getting into all sorts of adventures on the Canada Department of Agriculture Experimental Farm at Agassiz, BC. He went on to pursue an academic career in agriculture. At university he connected with the love of his life, Fran. Together they built a life starting out in Beaverlodge where their two kids were born, then moving to Saskatoon for John’s doctorate. John worked for over 30 years as a research scientist-durum breeder in Swift Current, SK. Throughout his work he formed many cherished relationships. He spent his summers in Swift Current biking to work and lunch hours in the winters swimming lanes. He kept busy and active both inside and out of the house whether it was preparing gourmet meals, tending garden or building. John loved his family immensely. When his kids were young, he was actively involved in their activities, including being a scout leader and a soccer coach. Once his kids grew, he was a dedicated attendee at various athletic events, and he rarely missed any activities which his grandchildren participated in. Fran and John retired to an acreage in Saskatoon where they continued to contribute to a wheat research program at the U of S. They were enthusiastic members of various dance groups, attending countless classes, formal dances and workshops. As with their house in Swift Current, they landscaped with the plants they loved. An avid builder, John filled their home with well-crafted bookcases, tables and cabinets, and their acreage with garden houses and sheds. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Saskatoon Cancer Centre or planting something in honour of John’s memory. The family also wishes to thank all the individuals who contributed to his medical care and treatment, including the Royal University Hospital Coronary Care Unit and cardiac ward for all of their care and attention during John’s final months.



  • A Celebration of Life

    Sunday, February 16, 2020


  • A Celebration of Life


John Mills Clarke

have a memory or condolence to add?

Joseph Nyachiro

June 5, 2020

Dear Fran and Family,
Please accept my belated message as I, today June 5 2020, learned about the passing of John. John was a kind and amiable person. I real and truly enjoyed working with John at SPARC, Swift Current from 1997 to 2001. Through his generous sharing of scientific expertise he helped me to develop my career. I also remember the many friendly social gatherings we had. May God give you courage and comfort as you navigate through the process of healing and proceeding with life in the absence of John.
Best regards,
Dr. Joseph Nyachiro
Lacombe, Alberta

Nancy Ames

February 26, 2020

Dear Fran and Family,
I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of John's recent passing. I have not seen John recently but I have fond memories of working with him on our many durum projects. John was an exceptional scientist and breeder and he was always interested in pursuing the "out of the box" questions. John contributed so much to to the Canadian wheat industry and to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through his many varieties and contributions to science but also as a role model for other scientists, including myself. A wonderful man and a dedicated scientist , he will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Sincere Condolences
Nancy Ames

Theresa Colenutt

February 15, 2020

So sorry for your loss.

Brian Rossnagel

February 14, 2020

Fran and family:

I was very saddened and sorry to hear about John's passing last week. Sincere condolences from Laurel and I.

John was truly one of the good guys. He epitomized what being a public plant breeder was all about. His selfless dedication to the needs of the farmer as well as the broader needs of the grain industry was steadfast and remarkable. He always quietly and effectively went well beyond the job duties especially regarding his work around the PGDC, CJPS and many other professional bodies. His contributions to durum and wheat improvement will last long into the future.
While John and I didn't get to spend a lot of time working together I always enjoyed our interactions and especially appreciated the few we had in recent years out in the Univ of Sask plots after both of us had "retired".
Gone much too soon.

Brian Rossnagel