He was born on Feb. 23, 1962, at Lennox to Erhard and Lily Borchardt. He grew up in Madison and graduated from Madison High School. He attended the University of Arizona at Flagstaff and was a music and art major. In 2004, he received his nursing license.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Sharon Lampson; and a brother, Ray "Butch" Borchardt.
Hmm... no spouse or family to survive him? I have to turn to a paid obituary, lower left, page 2 of Friday's print edition, to learn about Mr. Clarke's significant other:
He was a true friend, caring brother, and loving partner to his life partner Bob Schmitz. Bill and Bob were together for 21 years and through all times their deep love and support for each other was apparent.
So Mr. Clarke had a partner of 21 years, and our local newspaper chooses not to mention him in the formal obit?
This is not the first time Madison's newspaper has chosen to omit mention of a gay partner from an obituary. Consider this 2003 obit for Douglas Richard Larson (emphasis mine):
He was a member of the Kiwanis, Elks, Lions Club, Toastmasters, Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Area Development Board.
Survivors include his wife Victoria of Brookings; two sons, Sean and Kenneth, both of Brookings; his father, Richard of Brookings; a brother, Brent of San Francisco, Calif.; a sister, Linnea (David) Bradbury of Plano, Texas; two nieces and a nephew.
He was preceded in death by a grandfather and a grandmother.
Now view the obit from Rude's Funeral Home:
He was a member of the Kiwanis, Elks, Lions Club, Toastmasters, Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Area Development Board. He enjoyed riding motorcycle, sailing, photography, computers, writing and philosophy. He was also an ordained minister. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family. Doug is survived by his wife Victoria of Brookings; two sons Sean and Kenneth both of Brookings; one brother Brent Larson and his partner Joseph Driste of San Francisco, CA; one sister Linnea Bradbury (David) of Plano, TX; his father Richard Larson of Brookings; nieces Andrea Lovoll and Stephanie Simons and nephew Nick Simons. He was preceded in death by his grandfather Ferman Feeney and grandmother Pearl Larson.
The MDL obit mentions the husband of a sister, but not the partner of a brother.
As I've said before, the Madison Daily Leader is a private business. Publisher Jon Hunter can choose to print or not print whatever he wants (and he usually does, regardless of any stated "policy").
But the choices Hunter and his staff make tell us something about our local culture. The Leader will mention fiancées in obituaries. Compare also the coverage of the death last week of MHS alumnus Benjamin Bundy. Along with Bundy's formal obit, Hunter publishes a tribute article that, in Friday's print edition, features a color photo of Bundy "with his long-time girlfriend, Laura Niedert."
Long-time. Bundy was 20. Long-time means what, six years, tops? Clarke shared his life with a man for 21 years, and the Leader won't mention that unless it's paid.
I guess some meaningful relationships are acceptable for news coverage, but some remain unspeakable to our "free" press.