Clarke A. Chambers, 94, of St. Anthony Park and Falcon Heights, died July 28.

He was born to Winslow and Anna Chambers of Blue Earth, Minn., on June 3, 1921. He graduated with honors from Carleton College in 1943, entered the U.S. Army Air Force and served in the South Pacific, then received a doctorate in history from the University of California-Berkeley in 1950. He married the love of his life, Florence Wood, in 1944, and they moved to St. Anthony Park around 1957, living on Carter Avenue until 1963, Folwell Avenue in University Grove until 1985, and then were among the first residents of 1666 Coffman.

Clarke had a fulfilling and productive career at the University of Minnesota (1951–1990), where he was a professor of history and adjunct professor of social work. He established the U’s Social Welfare History Archives, chaired the Minnesota Humanities Commission (1978–80), and helped start the Elder Learning Institute (now OLLI). Students and friends remember the sparkle in his eyes and his ease at quickly forming a deep rapport.

He and Florence raised four children. In addition, he read and wrote poetry, loved to garden, travel and spend time at a cabin in Wisconsin.

He was preceded in death by his wife; half-brother, Winston; sister, Jean; and daughter Katy. He is survived by his children Jenny Willow (Michael Gallagher), Robert Wood Chambers and Sarah Clarke Chambers (Eugene Ozasky); six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

The family suggests donations to either Clarke Chambers Fellowship Fund No. 2997

(University of Minnesota Foundation, 200 S.E. Oak St., Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55455) or to the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (Box 87, River Falls, WI 54022).

To receive a notice for the memorial service to be held this fall, send an email to

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