In addition to his very distinguished university career, particularly as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham University, and a busy retirement, during which he was Chair of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Michael gave years of service to the Church of England, to the Diocese of Worcester, and to Worcester Cathedral. He was a prominent member of the General Synod, and chaired several of the most contentious synod debates. His sharp mind, gentle humour, comprehension of the issues, and mastery of standing orders, made him ideal for the task. In 2018 he was awarded the Canterbury Cross for services to the Church of England.
Michael was one of the first two lay members of the Worcester Cathedral Chapter, Chair of the Cathedral Council, and Chair of the Three Choirs Festival Committee. He was a Governor of the King’s School, a Governor of the University of Worcester, and a Deputy Lieutenant of the County.
Bishop John said: "Michael Clarke will be sorely missed by very many people, including me. His contribution to church and society was exceptional and exemplary: he gave of himself unstintingly for the good of others. I feel privileged to have known him, to have learned from him and to have counted him as a friend. May he be welcomed into the loving arms of the God he served so well, whose love is stronger than death."
The Dean, Peter Atkinson, said: "Michael was one of the first people I met when I came to Worcester. He remained a good friend, a wise counsellor, and a kind unofficial mentor. His faithful membership of the Church of England was rooted in his Yorkshire vicarage childhood. It was a privilege to learn from his long years of experience, often dispensed over pints of beer in a country pub."
Michael passed away on 22 December 2021, after some years of suffering from Parkinson's Disease.