Jim Clarke was one of the intake of 1952 which produced so many high achievers in the sciences but Jim made it big time in commerce. Had you known him in his early school days, a confident career in business would have been far from your expectations. Jim was an all-round good guy who studied hard but was not 'a swot' as he engaged in all forms of sporting activity and any social events that were going.
He was a tall lad hence the Big Jim tag. He excelled as a second row in school and house rugby teams and was a formidable lineout jumper prior to the current allowance of lifting. He was selected for Gloucestershire Public and Grammar Schools rugby team. His other sports were long jumping and sprinting. He was very hard to catch. He was a natural leader and captained Ramsay's house and the school. His bearing and oratory made him a natural for positions of authority which he carried out so well. He was an English scholar, writing many poems and essays of high quality. He stayed on for an extra term to take an entrance exam to gain a place at Corpus Christie college Oxford and excelled there graduating with an English degree. It was a big surprise to us all that after graduating, Jim went to work on the sales side for Colgate Toothpaste. He loved it and his progress through the group was rapid, eventually joining Gillette in a management role and rising to become Managing Director of Gillette South Africa before becoming CEO of Gillette Australia. His last posting was Germany where he was CEO of Braun GMBH based in Kronberg.
During his time in South Africa, he became a friend of F. W. de Klerk and knew Nelson Mandela. He was also a good friend of Wilbur Smith and had a fine collection of signed first editions of all his books. Jim also wrote for magazines, especially commercial tomes during his time in SA. His high achievements in literature are a compliment to Richard Hall, the main English master in the '50s.
Jim eventually moved back to the UK and became a very hard-working President of the Old Boys Society and took a big interest in the school. His sister Sally, a prominent Red Maid, married a former QEH captain of the school rugby team, Phil Avery, so the link to QEH was very strong.
Sadly, Jim had a stroke whilst on a cruise and has spent a good deal of time in hospitals or in recovery during the past few years. His wife Maggie has, with great dedication, looked after him so well during those times. Big Jim, also known as Jim le Grand will be missed by everyone who knew him.
The funeral will take place at 13:00 on Thursday 16th February, at:
GreenAcres Chiltern Chapel,
Buckinghamshire HP9 2XB
Watch the webcast live and watch-again:
Barry Coombs, OE, 1952 - 1956
OE Nick Beake inspired our pupils at Prize Giving with a speech on his experiences as a journalist and his reflection on how his QEH education influen… More...