Debra Clarke

Obituary of Debra Clarke

Debra Clarke, 70, passed away at her residence on Thursday, September 16, 2021. She was born on August 10, 1951, in Morgantown, daughter of the late Harold Dempsey and Elsie Jane (Holmes) Castell. When Debra Clarke set off to pursue her journalism degree at West Virginia University, she never thought she would be a teacher. Yet, 29 years and a leap of faith later, she was humbled by the impact she made on the university and the education of students at Waynesburg. Her life plans never included becoming a teacher. However, after five years as a radio journalist and a broadcaster, and after spending eight years in the judicial system, Clarke looked at other possible career choices. She secured a graduate assistantship, finished her master’s degree and became an elementary special education teacher. Prior to Waynesburg, she taught at the elementary level for 15 years in the West Virginia public school system and as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Special Education Department, College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University. Debra has many achievements in her lifetime. In 2013, she was awarded the Lucas Hathaway Teaching Excellence Award at Waynesburg University. Other honors include an Outstanding Teaching Award from West Virginia University in 2006, Monongalia County Schools Rex Smith Distinguished Educator Award in 2002, Cass Elementary School MetLife Outstanding Teacher in 2000 and Monongalia County Schools Teacher of the Month Award in 1988. In summary, Debra was an educator, teaching special education in several public schools. For many years, she taught teachers who were being trained in Special Education at WVU. She was also head of the Educations Department at Waynesburg University for a number of years. After retiring, she volunteered at the Senior Center of Morgantown. Debra was known to always have a smile and a kind word for all she came in contact with. She felt the importance in life to this world better than it was, and this she accomplished many times over. Left to cherish her memory is her husband, David; son, David A. and adopted son, John Lee, and special pets Marz and Bandit. Special thanks to the doctors and nurses at the Cancer Center. A special thank you to Kelley Solomon for all she has done and for being there for Debra. In accordance with his/her wishes, cremation services will be provided by Hastings Funeral Home, Omega Crematory. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Debra’s memory to WVU Cancer Institute, 1 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, WV 26506 and/or Senior Monongalians, Inc., 5000 Greenbag Road, Morgantown, WV 26501. Send condolences online at
Share Your Memory of