Clarke, John F. G. (Deceased)
Jack was born on February 22, 1905, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He once wrote “My early years were relatively uneventful, but even at a tender age I enjoyed playing with matches and developed a penchant for spraying passersby with the hose! At age five I recall my father taking me out in the backyard and pointing out Halley’s Comet. By the time I was seven, I manifested a keen interest in natural history and began to collect butterflies.” Jack received a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1926 from the Washington State College, and returned to Bellingham, Washington, where he had a job awaiting him at a pharmacy, but the business was financially troubled. At about the same time he had been asked by the chairman of the Zoology Department at the University of Washington to return to the university to continue his studies on Lepidoptera where he received his BS degree in zoology and MS degree in entomology. Jack began his professional career in 1936 as an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During World War II he served in Europe and earned a Bronze Star. In 1947, he was assigned to work at the Natural History Museum, London, on the Meyrick types of Lepidoptera. He received his PhD degree from the University of London in 1949 for this research that was later published as a monumental eight volume work entitled Catalogue of the Type Specimens of Microlepidoptera in the British Museum (Natural History) described by Edward Meyrick. Jack was chairman of the Department of Entomology, Smithsonian Institution from 1963 to 1965. He officially retired in 1975, but within months returned to a full-time work schedule. He was an internationally-known expert on Oecophoridae and microlepidoptera of island systems. In 1971, he published on Lepidoptera of Rapa Island and in 1986 Pyralidae and Microlepidoptera of the Marquesas Archipelago. He published over 100 scientific and popular publications on moths and described two new families, 71 new genera, and 547 new species. In 1983, he received an Alumni Achievement Award from Washington State University, and in 1985 he received a special recognition award from the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Jack was elected to honorary life membership in the Lepidopterists’ Society for his research on Lepidoptera. He was a member of various organizations: Entomological Society of America, Entomological Society of Washington (president), fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London, the Explorer’s Club, and the Cosmos Club, among others. Jack was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1955, and served as chairman of the grants committee from 1965 to 1979, and was vice president from 1984 to 1985. Jack is most remembered for his culinary skills with potatoes and a “small dash” of whiskey at the island. He was an avid gardener and stamp collector, and published a few papers on “Rebecka-at-the-Well” teapots. Jack died on September 17, 1990, and was a Washington Biologists’ Field Club member of good standing for 16 years. His ashes are distributed on the Island and a plaque was mounted on a rock in remembrance of a person who had a memorable impact on the Washington Biologists’ Field Club.