In March of 2017 Angella was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. After 10 months of chemo and radiation treatments, the cancer became too far advanced . She passed away on Jan. 19, 2018 surrounded by friends and family. She was 43. Angie joined CFNYC in 2012.
From member Jen P:
The first time I met Angella Clarke was in Coach Kyle’s beginner wod in 2014. I’d been at CFNYC for about three weeks and was continually confused by all the Crossfit terminology. This particular morning we were doing a barbell EMOM and I couldn’t remember what the acronym meant. So I found the most capable-looking person in class and asked her for help. Angie just laughed and explained the workout to me and then cheerfully helped me load up my barbell.
Angie moved from Jamaica to New York when she was about 12 years old. (She always contended that the reason she couldn’t do a handstand at Crossfit is because they didn’t teach gymnastics in Jamaican schools. I think maybe she made that up.) She went on to graduate from Cornell and get a degree in nursing. Angie also had a black-belt in Taekwondo, spoke fluent Spanish, traveled extensively and was an accomplished fine artist. (Not for nothing, but she also deadlifted close to 400lbs.) It took me almost three years to learn most of these things about her because she never talked about her own accomplishments. She just didn’t think she was that remarkable.
Angie’s good looks and strong athletic build always caught people’s attention: a few years ago, she was “discovered” in Madison Square Park by a Dove spokesperson. They eventually cast her in a body wash commercial. She’s only in it for a few seconds, but it’s a wonderful reminder of her smiling personality and cheerfulness.
It’s easy to make friends with people when you’re in the same class every morning. But anyone who knew Angie knew that she was special: she was kind to everyone, laughed easily and hollered support to anyone who was struggling or finishing last. She was so physically strong that coaches often had her lift with the men in the class, (usually to their dismay and her embarrassment). Angie coached me through my first Crossfit Open (where she happily no-repped me, just in case I tried slacking or thinking she’d be easy on me). She was a born athlete and loved all sports. Once she didn’t show up for a morning ewod and it turned out she’d been up until 5am watching the Australian Open live. Made total sense to her.
I spent the next three and a half years getting to know Angie. That sounds easy, but outside of the gym she was intensely shy. She liked the idea of group outings, but then she’d arrive and maybe say five words the entire evening. (In recent weeks I’ve gotten to know some of her oldest friends and they’ve joked that they could spend an entire evening with Angie just trying to get her to flash that smile of hers.) She simply wasn’t in her comfort zone with groups of people — except at the box.
CFNYC was Angie’s favorite place. After a tough late-night shift at the emergency room at Beth Israel Hospital, she would come to the box with funny or harrowing stories about patients and co-workers. It was obvious that doing a wod each morning with her friends helped her to decompress after stressful nights spent with sick and injured people. While most of us slept, she was saving lives and helping others.
If a person is best defined by the impact they have on other people, Angie was exceptional. In the last two weeks the single refrain I’ve heard again and again by those who knew her is “she was the nicest person”. She really was. If I’m ever half as kind and strong and as beloved as Angie was, I’ll consider myself extremely lucky.
Rest in peace, sweet girl.