In Memoriam: Jean Illsley Clarke


Longtime NCFR member Jean Illsley Clarke, M.A., CFLE, died on July 1, 2021. She was an NCFR member for 43 years and a CFLE for 33 years.

Ms. Clarke was a parent educator, teacher, and researcher. She obtained an M.A in human development, family studies, and related services from St. Mary’s College in 1978 and received three honorary doctorates during her lifetime: from the University of Minnesota in Laws, Concordia University in Letters, and Sierra University in Human Service. She had been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 2001.

Ms. Clarke was the author of eighteen books and numerous articles and publications. Her books have been translated into eight languages and are used among diverse groups. Her well-known book, How Much is Too Much? Raising Likeable, Responsible, and Respectful Children – From Teens to Toddlers in an Overindulgent World is a parenting guide outlining the damaging results of overindulgence and how families can stop overindulging their children.

Ms. Clarke is known for her research on parenting and overindulgence, as well as her ability to translate raw data and theories into learning activities for parents. She designed and led parenting workshops such as How Much is Too Much? Overindulgence, Growing Up Again, and Self-Esteem: A Family Affair. Ms. Clarke also presented many workshops around the world. Her presentation highlights included keynote addresses at the International Self-Esteem Conference in Norway, the International Year of the Family Conference in Canada, and other keynotes in England and Australia.

Ms. Clarke has received numerous awards including the John Gladfelter Life Values Award from the USA Transactional Analysis Association; the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Human Ecology Alumni Association at the University of Minnesota; and the Ruth Hathaway Jewson Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Council on Family Relations.

At NCFR, Ms. Clarke contributed articles for its publications, presented webinars, and served on the Certified Family Life Educator Job Analysis Committee.

A joint celebration of life for Ms. Clarke and her husband, Dick, is being planned for the fall.


Ms. Clarke will be honored during the memorial service at the 2021 NCFR conference.

During this service, the names of any NCFR members who have recently died are read aloud. Members who have served as an NCFR board member, journal editor, or are conferred NCFR Fellow status are given a eulogy.

If you learn of an NCFR member who has passed away, please email Trip Sullivan