George Stillman Clarke

Pages 219-220

George S. Clarke, as president of the Central Michigan Paper Company, of Grand Rapids, has attained a place of prominence in wholesale circles of the city. He rose from errand boy to the position of secretary with the company within the phenomenally short time of five years, his rapid advancement being attributed not only to his evident ability as an executive but to the conscientious application to duty and the will to succeed, which have been the guiding stars of his career. He comes of a pioneer family of Michigan, his parents, Edgar A. and Lucena (Cadwell) Clarke, coming from New York state in 1860 to locate at Ionia, Michigan. In that city George S. Clarke was born in 1888 and there attended the public schools. At the age of fourteen he obtained a job with the Central Michigan Paper Company, which was first established in Kalamazoo, as errand boy, his weekly wage being one and a half dollars per week. He realized that his education was not sufficient to take him to the top in the business world and accordingly enrolled in night school. His industry and ability were soon rewarded and he was successively advanced through the positions of stock cutter and shipping clerk until in 1907, though but a young man of nineteen years, he was made a secretary of the company, a position which he retained until 1922. The Central Michigan Paper Company was established in 1885 in Kalamazoo by W. F. Holmes. From its inception the enterprise enjoyed a steady growth. In 1898 the firm moved its plant to Grand Rapids and in April, 1904, drew up the articles of incorporation as the Central Michigan Paper Company. C. L. Blanchard, of Milwaukee, became the first president of the new corporation with Mr. Holmes as vice-president and A. C. Denison filling the office of secretary. The retirement of Blanchard and Holmes in 1907 necessitated a new election of officers, and at that time, George L. Warren became president, S. W. Todd took over the duties of vice-president and treasurer, and George S. Clarke was promoted to the office of secretary. These officers continued in their various positions until 1922 when Mr. Clarke became president, B. J. Barnard, vice-president, and S. W. Todd, secretary and treasurer. Mr. Clarke is one of the progressive young executives of Grand Rapids, and the fact that his company is rapidly becoming one of the substantial and influential wholesale enterprises of the city is proof enough of his managerial ability. He is well known in business, where he is respected by all with whom he comes in contact. Mr. Clarke married Katherine B. Precious, the daughter of Joseph Precious, of Kent County.

Transcriber:  Evelyn M. Sawyer
Created: 17 April 2003, other info updated by Thomas D. Clarke on September 22, 2006; photos added on December 16, 2010.

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George S. Clarke's World War 1 Draft card

George S. Clarke's obituary

Pictures of George S. Clarke from around 1903

Photo of George's first wife Katherine Precious Clarke

Pictures of George and Katherine's daughter Virginia and her second husband Frank Sweet

George Stillman Clarke died July 29, 1956 in Grand Rapids, and was survived by his widow Esther Mae Clarke (b-d unknown), his daughter Virginia, and his brother Edgar (1883-1960). George was born on April 14, 1888. He probably attended public school in both Ionia and Grand Rapids, since his parents called Ionia home in 1891 and Grand Rapids home in 1900. He was still President of the Central Michigan Paper Company at the time of his death, and his estate was valued in December 1956 at $257139. Katherine Precious Clarke was born in 1886 in Lamont, MI. She died September 22, 1950 in Grand Rapids. George and Katherine's son Robert S. Clarke died as an infant in 1909. Virginia, their daughter, was born July 17, 1911 in Grand Rapids, and died on February 15, 2001, in Muskegon, MI.