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Official Obituary of

Clarence Napoleon Blake

September 12, 1926 ~ March 9, 2024 (age 97) 97 Years Old

Clarence Blake Obituary

DR. CLARENCE N. BLAKE, 97, departed this life peacefully at his Rockville, MD home on March 9, 2024. Born in Cotton Plant, AR on September 12, 1926 to the late James and Florence Blake, he spent his early years in Wynn, AR until the family relocated to Detroit, MI in 1935.

Clarence entered the United States Navy and graduated from Miller High School in 1945. He served aboard the USS Fargo (CL-106) in the Atlantic Theater. As our forces demobilized at the end of World War II, Clarence returned to Detroit and enrolled at Wayne State University. It was there that he met his first wife Willa, with whom he shared three sons. In 1952, he earned a B.S. in Education with a minor in Music Performance and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. It was also at Wayne where he pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and joined the Prince Hall Masons.

His first assignment in the Air Force was as a C-124 Loadmaster carrying special cargo around the world.  Clarence subsequently was assigned to Ladd AFB (Fairbanks), AK then Geiger Field, WA. In 1960 in Spokane, he earned his M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Gonzaga University. He and the family then moved to Klamath AFB, CA where he served in a Radar Squadron. He was very active off-base, as founder and director of the Klamath Community Band and serving a church school superintendent.

In 1963, Clarence went overseas to Ubon Air Base, Thailand. Fluent in Thai, he used his language skills and diplomacy as a Liaison Officer.  He worked with the Royal Thai Air Force and other Allied Forces as the United States commitment in Southeast Asia was growing. After this tour, now a Major, he became a Professor of Aerospace Studies at the Howard University Air Force R.O.T.C. Detachment. In 1968, he moved to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) where he culminated his Air Force career in 1971 as an Intelligence Analyst. During his time at DIA, in 1969, he completed his studies and was awarded an Ed.D. at the George Washington University.

After Clarence retired from the service, he pursued a career as college educator. He was a Professor of Adult Education and Human Resource Development at the University of the District of Columbia (starting at Federal City College) from 1971 to 1995. He was the Chairperson of the Department of Adult Education as well as a member of the Faculty Senate.  During his tenure, he became well known in academic and consulting circles for his work concerning how adults learn and techniques to promote lifetime learning.

Clarence was an avid writer and published author. His award winning Quiz Book on Black America (1976) challenged reader’s knowledge of the roles played by Blacks throughout American history. He also contributed to publications, newspapers and scholarly journals during his long career in education.

In 1995, he married the love of his life Peggy. They settled in Rockville, MD where they began a life of church, civic and community service.  A long-time Prince Hall Mason, Clarence affiliated with Pythagoras Lodge #74.  In recent years, he served as Chair of the Jerusalem-Mt. Pleasant Committee on Christian Education, sang in the church choir and volunteered at Beall Elementary School.  A proud Omega Man, he was “financial” to the end ;)

Clarence was a generous and compassionate man, dedicated to his family, his work and community. Serving those in need was his life’s mission. He loved to travel and meet new friends.  His career and life took him to all 50 states and every continent but Antarctica. When not traveling he enjoyed reading, and playing music. His instruments mastered include the mandolin, piano, flute, guitar, trumpet and harmonica. He also had a lifelong passion for humor, collecting jokes (and making friends) from around the world.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 27 years Peggy Jones Blake, sons James Blake of Silver Spring, Maryland and Robert (Gina) Blake of Rockville, Maryland, grandchildren Damien Thomas, Charlene Blake, Angela (Robert Jr.) Diggs, Elizabeth Blake and Katherine Blake; great-grandchildren Akeen, Anaya and Gabrielle; and a host of family and friends. In addition to his parents, Clarence was preceded in death by his two brothers, three sisters and oldest son, David Blake.

Services will be held on March 20, 2024 (Viewing at 10 o’clock AM / Funeral at 11 o’clock AM) at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 608 Horners Lane, Rockville, MD 20850. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made in honor of Dr. Clarence N. Blake to the George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc., 1401 Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20902 or online at http://www.saturdayschool.org.

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March 20, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
608 N. Horners Lane
Rockville, MD 20850

Funeral Service
March 20, 2024

11:00 AM
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
608 N. Horners Lane
Rockville, MD 20850


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