Obituary of William Clarke Syme
“It was not a matter of the years the man was around, nor the trail in life he took; but rather the things he did for everyone that made the man so great.”
From a humble beginning Clarke Syme grew to serve his country in World War 2, went on to be a very successful business man and civic leader, and even more so, a loving husband to his wife of over 73 years, a loving father to his two children, a loving grandfather to his four grandchildren and a loving great-grandfather to his six great-grandchildren.
Clarke was born in Payette in 1923 and spent his early years helping support the family by sheepherding from Payette to McCall after his mother passed away when Clarke was 12. While he was growing up in the Little Willow Creek area, he first met his future wife, Elaine. It was love at first sight.
In 1943 Clarke joined the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the submarine USS Dace in Pearl Harbor after passing his high school diploma test. Until the end of the war Clarke, aboard the USS Dace, was on active duty in the Pacific. After sinking several enemy freighters, the Dace had a close call when it had to evade enemy depth charges by submerging to 350 feet for 21½ hours until oxygen ran low and the Dace resurfaced safely. Clarke, though, had lost most of his hearing in one ear while manning the guns.
During a leave in 1945, Clarke returned to Weiser to marry his childhood sweetheart, Elaine.
After the war, Clarke settled in Weiser and founded the electrical contracting business, McKnight and Syme, with his business partner.
During the 62 years of business the partners also built Weiser’s first laundromat, first car wash and first trailer park along with several other business ventures. And of course, as an electrical contractor, Clarke built and lived with his family in the first all electric home in Weiser.
Clarke was mayor of Weiser, a city council member and board member of the senior center and hospital. Clarke and Elaine were also influential in getting the new city swimming pool built.
Clarke enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and river rafting with his family. Several of his fondest memories were the fishing trips from the family cabin in New Meadows with the kids, then the grandkids and finally his great-grandkids.
William Clarke Syme passed away Jan. 24, 2023 with family members at his side at the age of 99 years 8 months still hoping to make it to 100 and perhaps one more fishing trip.
Clarke was preceded in death by his parents, William and Ester, siblings Robert, Lucille and Anna and his wife, Elaine.
He is survived by his daughter Debra and son Greg and their families:
Debra Hartnett, her husband Tim and their two sons, Travis and his wife Camille, and Christopher, his wife Lori and their four children Reagan, Winston, Caroline and Grant.
Greg Syme, his wife Renate and their two sons, Bryan, his wife Tabitha and their daughter Fiona, and Jeffrey, his wife Sara and their daughter Phoebe.
Services will be held Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at Weiser Christian Church, followed by a 21 gun salute military honors burial at Hillcrest Cemetery and then a remembrance lunch at the Vendome Events Center in Weiser.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Syme, please visit Tribute Store