When Elder Don Ray Clarke was president of the Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission, he transferred to mission headquarters an elder who made it clear he would have preferred to finish his mission in another area. Soon after, the elder met a woman looking for a daughter she hadn’t seen in 10 years. When she showed him a photo, this missionary recognized her daughter from a previous area. He played a key part in reuniting a mother and her child.
From this experience and others, “I’ve come to know that God cares deeply about people,” Elder Clarke says. He welcomes surprise transfers and new callings that allow him to help others. “I hope I can minister,” he says of his new calling, “and not just administer.”
Born on December 11, 1945, in Rexburg, Idaho, USA, to Raymond and Gladys Clarke, he credits a good home, good friends, and his patriarch grandfather, who lived with his family, for strengthening his testimony as a child.
He earned an associate degree from Ricks College (now BYU–Idaho), a bachelor’s degree in business from Brigham Young University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Washington State University. He married Mary Anne Jackson on June 5, 1970, in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. They have six children.
He pursued a successful career in retail, filling senior executive positions. Before his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, he served as a member of the high council of the Buena Vista Virginia Stake, stake president, assistant director of Church hosting, bishop, stake Young Men president, elders quorum president, and full-time missionary in the Argentina South Mission.
“I’ve learned along the way that so many of God’s children need help.” He answers their prayers through us, he says, “so that we can receive the great blessings of serving them.”