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11/16/22: Remembering Virgil Clarkson

Virgil ClarksonWe were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Virgil Clarkson. Mr. Clarkson had a tremendous impact on the Lacey community and North Thurston Public Schools. 

His life, and that of his wife Barbara, has been defined by service. The Clarksons have given much of themselves to their community and local schools, and we are better for it. Their contributions to the community include expanding student supports through the Thurston Group of Washington State, providing student scholarships, hosting the Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet, and providing annual donations of school supplies to the Family and Youth Resource Center.

Virgil served as a leader for the Thurston Group of Washington State, whose motto is "Education is the Key to Our Future." Through the Thurston Group, Virgil supported students of color pursuing careers in education and other employment opportunities. Virgil also was a dedicated supporter of the Lacey Minsk-Mazowiecki Sister City Association. Established in 2003, the association helped bridge the gap between the cities of Minsk and Lacey. The organization sponsors cultural events, exhibits, educational lectures, and delegation exchanges.

For over two decades, Virgil was instrumental in organizing and sponsoring the Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet. The community event honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. while advancing equity work. The event included the presentation of scholarships to students from North Thurston Public Schools and neighboring school districts. Through the work of the Clarksons and others, over $8 million has been provided to 800 students to offset higher education costs.

"Virgil's contributions to this community have been tremendous and hard to overstate," said Dr. Debra Clemens, North Thurston Public Schools Superintendent. "Decades of NTPS graduates have benefitted and will continue to benefit from Virgil’s life of service and unwavering commitment to our schools and our community."

We in the NTPS community are honored to have known and worked with Virgil Clarkson. He was a man of great influence. We offer our deepest condolences to Barbara and the Clarkson family.

Virgil Clarkson's memorial service is scheduled for 11:00 am on January 7, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church of Olympia (1224 Legion Way SE, Olympia, WA).