June Clark, passed away on March 14, 2021.
Base Commander’s Widow Passes On
Spanning 10 decades, several continents, eight children, and a lifetime of achievement, a representative of America’s “greatest generation” has passed away. June Elizabeth Clark, born January 31, 1922 was the family matriarch and nearly a centenarian.
Born one of 4 children to Ivan and Marion Spitler in Tecumseh, Michigan, she spent the first 7 years of her life in the midst of the “Roaring Twenties,” but the advent of the Great Depression changed her life, as it did for many at that time. Her father worked his way through the turmoil of the 1930s in the oil industry, moving his family for a period of time to Butler, Pennsylvania. June returned to her native Tecumseh after graduating in 1939, the same year the landmark motion picture “The Wizard of Oz” made its debut. She struck up a romance with her best friend’s brother, James Bruce Clark, and the two were married in 1941. It was later that year that the United States entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Enlisting in the Army Air Corps, her husband began what became a 23 year career in the military – and June spent a great deal of her life raising a family of 8 children, moving from one Air Force base to another. Her journeys took her to Japan as part of the post-World War II “occupation,” where she made friends with many Japanese citizens. Other stops in the Air Force included Spokane in the State of Washington, Guam, Massachusetts, and Torrejon Air Force Base in Madrid, Spain. Her husband, Lt. Colonel James B. Clark played a key role at Torrejon during the “Cuban Missile Crisis” of 1962, and returned to the United States in 1964 as the vice-commander of Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth, Texas. The family, which had grown to 8 children, settled in that town and June spent the remainder of her life there.
After a number of years working in the insurance industry, her husband would eventually take up employment with Boeing Services International, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During the years of 1965 to 1979, June was a dedicated mother concentrating on the raising of her children – but that routine was tragically interrupted on December 14, 1979 when her husband was assassinated along with 3 other personnel in Istanbul, Turkey. Her son, Robert Andrew Clark, had died in an airplane crash one month earlier, making the event doubly tragic. Four years later in 1983, her daughter, Martha Ann Clark, also passed away due to a lifelong battle with spinal meningitis.
The sudden death of her soulmate in life was a dramatic change for her, so June returned to college and completed a degree in art education at Texas Christian University in 1981. At a time when most women would be contemplating retirement, June launched a career in teaching art at private schools and daycare centers, such as La Petite Academy. She was a gifted artist in painting, silk screen technique, and other forms of art that served as decorations for her home. Subjects of her artistic endeavors were often scenes from her wanderings to various parts of the world during the military career of her husband.
Like many of her generation, June was very humble and greatly appreciative of life’s simple pleasures – such as family life. Perhaps the things that represented her life are best epitomized in the children’s easy reader she wrote and illustrated, entitled Down the Lane. The book is beautifully illustrated and memorializes her Scottish roots, the Great Depression, and the farm life that pervaded her childhood in the area of Macon, Michigan. She was a magnanimous woman with an indomitable spirit – so courageous.
June is survived by 5 of her 8 children and numerous grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. A funeral Mass will occur at Holy Family Catholic Parish in Fort Worth on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 11:00am, preceded by a Rosary at 10:35am. The actual burial will occur at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D. C. Friends of the family are especially encouraged to attend a eulogy, memorial slide show, and pizza with coke meal at Baumgardner Funeral Home that evening at 5:00pm. Rather than flowers please make an online donation to the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
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