Jane Clark, 95, most recently of Park Place in Elmhurst, died on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020. A lifelong resident of River Forest and Oak Park, she was born on Aug. 19, 1924, to James and Elizabeth (Eagen) Daley of River Forest.
She attended St. Luke Catholic School and Trinity High School in River Forest, and graduated with a degree in social work from St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana.
In 1949, she married John Clark, also of River Forest. They’d met when they were 6 years old, after the Clark family moved across the street from the Daley family on Lathrop Avenue in River Forest. They were married for 57 years, until John died in 2006.
Their guiding lights were family, faith, friends, and social justice. Jane had a special affinity with the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, who taught her at St. Luke, entertained her at Camp WeHaKee for Girls in Wisconsin, and welcomed her sister Anne into their community.
The Clarks were longtime members of St. Luke. She was active in the school and church, especially in the Peace and Justice Committee and became one of the parish’s first women Eucharistic ministers in the 1970s, helping to establish the lay-led Ministry of Care, a role she fulfilled with dedication into her 90s.
Over the decades, she was an active member of several social justice and church-related groups, including CANA, the Christian Family Movement, the Catholic Interracial Council, Catholic Council on Working Life, National Council of Laity, Call to Action, Oak Park-River Forest Citizens Committee for Human Rights, Sarah’s Inn, Deborah’s Place, and United Power for Peace and Justice. The Clarks were also involved in the early days of the organizations now known as Housing Forward and Beyond Hunger and hosted meetings for many of these groups in their home in River Forest.
Her commitment to the welfare of others went hand-in-hand with her tireless work, along with John, raising nine children. Planning and preparing three meals a day, seven days a week for 11 people — often 12 or more because she set a welcoming table — was a challenge she relished. Her nine children inherited her passion for gracious dining and inventive recipes. As adults, they all became dedicated cooks themselves (using more spices than their mom ever used).
She maintained lifelong friendships with women she met in grade school, high school and college. The Daley family reunion was hosted for several decades on the grounds of Rosary College/Dominican University (the Sinsinawa connection again). An active tennis player when she was young, she renewed her passion for the game as her children grew older, and she played every summer until she was 90.
Jane is survived by her children, Thom (Jean), Mary Joan (Daniel) Murray, Jim (Anne), Stephen (Cynthia), Sally (John) Arden, Teresa (Tom) Naughton, Paul, Matt (Melissa), and Daniel (Sarah); her grandchildren, Susan, Peter, Tommy, Michael, John, Hannah, James, Geoffrey, Molly, Sean, Daniel, Mary, Emily, Samuel, Grace, Patrick, Maggie, Elizabeth, Robbie, and the late Rebecca, Jennifer, Joseph, Peter, Theresa and Margaret; her great-grandchildren, Teagan; Kian, James, Margaret, Peter, Stuart, Esme, Benjamin, Margaret; and her sisters, Gert, Claire, and Joan (her sisters Margaret, Elizabeth, Patricia, and Anne preceded her in death).
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, services will be private. A public celebration of her life will be held later this year. The family extends their gratitude for the wonderful care that Jane received at Park Place, Elmhurst, in the last months of her life.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Sinsinawa, WI, www.sinsinawa.org; Misericordia Home, Chicago, www.misericordia.com; or St. Luke Parish, River Forest, www.stlukeparish.org. For funeral info, call Drechsler, Brown & Williams, 708-383-3191.