Rosemary Clarke

Funeral Mass

11:00 am
Monday, August 7, 2023
St. Gertrude RC Church
 28 School Street
Bayville, New York, United States




May be made to: St. Vincent de Paul Society

Obituary of Rosemary W. Clarke

Please share a memory of Rosemary to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Rosemary W. Clarke, 92; longtime music teacher also served St. Gertrude’s for over 60 years


Rosemary Ann (Walker) Clarke of Bayville, N.Y., passed away peacefully with family by her side on July 29 after a short illness. She was 92.   A resident of Bayville, N.Y., she had retired from a long career teaching music in public schools, most recently in Oyster Bay. For years at Oyster Bay High School, she had led the school’s chorus as well as directed or co-directed its annual musical productions.


She was born in Flushing, N.Y., to Rosemary (Eckermann) and Robert Gilmore Walker. Her parents both died when she and her sister, Doris, were young. The two sisters were largely raised in Syracuse by their uncle Charles Eckermann, and his wife Grace (Bruna) along with the couple’s own four children. 


The family had strong musical traditions: One great-grandparent, Christian Eckermann, had co-founded one of Syracuse’s best-known German singing societies, and family gatherings from that time through the present century always included lots of singing and performances. In addition, the six children were educated by the Sisters of St. Joseph, who also taught them piano.  At Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., which was also run by the same order of nuns, Rosemary excelled in the music education program.  Upon graduation, she received a scholarship to the master’s program at New York University. While in grad school, she met Brooklyn native and Navy veteran Owen Clarke. They would marry and have five children.


Rosemary began her teaching career in Valley Stream and later in Bayville, where she and Owen moved in 1957.  For over 60 years, Rosemary was a stalwart in the music ministry of St. Gertrude’s Church in Bayville. She was choir director and then lead organist right up until the Covid era. Also, for 25 years, she was the organist at the Village (Methodist) Church, also in Bayville.

Students in the Oyster Bay public school system between 1961 and 1986 may remember Rosemary as their choral and flutophone teacher or the director of “Annie” and other productions and concerts. In Bayville, she may be remembered by pupils of the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, or by children in her neighborhood who were in the ‘’East Avenue Choir,’’ where they loudly sang ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ and other kid-friendly standards. She was also in several other community events, including “Bayville in Revue” in 1970, a celebration of the Village’s Golden Jubilee.


Rosemary loved swimming, flowers and reading, and she loved word games including Scrabble and the New York Times’ Wordle and crossword puzzle. She had a great combination of w it, charm and intellectual curiosity that drew many to her. Most of all, she was a nurturing and attentive mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. She will be greatly missed.


Rosemary was predeceased by her husband Owen, a longtime American Legion member, in 2010 and by her siblings, including Doris in 2021. She is survived by her children Rosemary ‘Rory;’ Owen (Laura); Sarah ‘Salli’ Hegarty (Jim); Andrew (Sherry); and Martha Loer.  In addition, Rosemary is survived by grandchildren Emily Reilly (Dan) and their daughter Maggie; Elizabeth Hood (Chris) and their daughter Leilani; William Hegarty; and Rosemary Loer. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

A service for Rosemary will be held at St. Gertrude’s, 28 School St., Bayville, at 11 a.m. on Monday. Doors will open at 10 a.m. for an informal reception. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the St. Vincent de Paul Society



Share Your Memory of