The Columns

W&L Trustee Emeritus Thomas Hal Clarke Sr. Dies at 101

— by on November 5th, 2015

Thomas Hal Clarke Sr., an emeritus member of Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees and a 1938 graduate of W&L’s School of Law, died on Sunday, Nov. 1, in Atlanta. He was 101. He had been an attorney with the Atlanta firm Mitchell, Clarke, Pate and Anderson and a copyright trustee of “Gone With the Wind.”

Devoted to his alma mater, Clarke served on the Law Council (1973–1976), as vice president and treasurer of the Alumni Board (1970–1974) and on the Board of Trustees (1975–1984). He and his wife, Mary Louise Hastings Clarke, gave generously to W&L, especially to the School of Law, over several capital campaigns. The W.O. DuVall Fund, which supports law scholarships, honors Clarke and two other W&L alumni.

Clarke was born in Atlanta on Aug. 10, 1914. After obtaining his bachelor of laws from W&L, where he belonged to Delta Tau Delta fraternity, he studied for a diplomatic career at the Mannix Walker School of Foreign Service and worked at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto, Canada.

During World War II, he joined the Navy, undergoing officer’s training at Princeton University and serving as communications officer on the U.S.S. LST-373 in the European Theater, including at Normandy on D-Day. The end of the war found him in the judge advocate general’s office in Shanghai, China.

Following the war, he established the Atlanta law firm of Clarke and Anderson, later called Mitchell, Clarke, Pate and Anderson and then Mitchell, Clarke, Pate, Anderson and Wimberly. Clarke practiced real property and savings and loan law. In 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed him the Democratic member of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, in Washington, D.C.

In 1973, he returned to Atlanta and his law firm. He added to his portfolio the duties of copyright trustee (along with Paul Anderson and Herbert Elsas) of “Gone with the Wind,” succeeding his law partner Stephens Mitchell, who was the brother of Margaret Mitchell, author of the 1936 bestseller.

Clarke served his profession in several bar associations, including a term as president of the Atlanta Bar Association and president of the Old Warhorse Lawyer’s Club. He chaired the corporate section of the American Bar Association and served as section delegate to the House of Delegates. He helped found the International Bar Association Building Society Committee and served as its chairman.

Clarke’s civic service included the Atlanta Historical Society (president and chairman), the Atlanta branch of the English Speaking Union, the Ansley Park Civic Association and the Board of Visitors of Emory University.

He and his wife owned and restored Kilfane House, a historic property in Ireland’s County Kilkenny. He belonged to the Kilkenny Archeological Society, Friends of St. Canice’s Cathedral, the Tulleherin Heritage Society, Kilfane Church and the Kilfane Handball Club, which sponsors the Hal Clarke Cup.

Clarke is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Louise Hastings Clarke; his son, Hal Clarke Jr. ’73, ’76L, and daughter-in-law, Nan Clarke ’76L; his daughter Katie Clarke Hamilton and son-in-law Bill Hamilton; his daughter Becky Clarke Morrison and son-in-law Ralph Morrison; eight grandchildren (including Charlie Clarke ’05, Robbie Clarke ’06, ’11L and Clarke Morrison ’12); and two great-grandchildren. His other W&L relatives are great-niece Aria Allan ’12, ’16L and distant cousin Penn Clarke ’13L.

You can read Clarke’s complete obituary in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.