Obituary Published in the Gainesville Sun from 1/17/2009 - 1/18/2009

Olga T. Clark

Olga Taylor Clark, 92, of Gainesville, FL, passed away 13JAN2009. Born in Somerville, MA, on 18APR1916, to Blair Taylor and Lena McCallum, Salvation Army Officers, she began a life devoted to service. A RN from 1938 until her marriage in 1954, she continued serving society through Trinity Methodist's Women's Society of Christian Service as President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Librarian, and President of United Methodist Women. Blessed with long life she is preceded in death by husband of 46 years, Philip, son John, brother Eldon, and sisters Doris, Keitha, & Erna. She is survived by sons Robert, Bruce, 2 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, all of Gainesville.

Services will be held on 21 JAN. 2009, 2pm in the lovely glass walled chapel at Trinity Methodist Church. For more info contact Williams-Thomas 352-376-7556.

Postmarked 3FEB2K9 The Family of Olga Clark received the following notice:
In Loving Memory of Olga Clark a gift has been given through United Methodist Women for the mission work of The United Methodist Church, by Trinity United Methodist Women.

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On 26AUG2K7, Sunday, an edit of the following tribute appeared in the Trinity United Methodist Church bulletin. Olga with the most staunch members of her support system at her side including Olga's son Robert along with Nancy & Marv McMillian and Pat Kilby was celebrated by the church family.

In honor of Olga Clark
by Reverend Robert Clark

On April 18, 1916, Olga Eileen Taylor came into the world, the second child and first girl born to two Salvation Army (SA) officers in New York City, New York. Soon Olga's mother Lena a solid fiery headed Scots Canadian woman found that being a mother and a soldier for God were too much for her to handle so the family relocated to rural Gonic, New Hampshire on a farm next to a retired SA friend. Once there the family grew with the addition of three more daughters.

To teach independence and self-reliance as children Eldon, Olga, Doris, Keitha & Erna, each had their own garden plot. It was their responsibility to care for their miniature farms completely from tilling to planting to the harvest and storing. In addition their chores on the family farm included tending horses, cows, chickens and an apple orchard. The apples over wintered in large barrels in the cellar, however, due to the proverbial “rotten apples that spoil the barrel” and the “waste not, want not” ethic none were permitted to eat a whole, sound one.

When Olga grew in to a young woman she traveled to Boston and studied Nursing at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital becoming a Registered Nurse on the 20th of May, 1938. She did private duty nursing in Malden a wealthy suburb of Boston for sixteen years until she met Philip Clark a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research entomologist, marrying him on September 6, 1954 and moving to Orlando, Florida bearing him three sons Robert, Bruce and John. In 1963, When the USDA, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) laboratory was relocated to Gainesville, the family followed it.

Olga was President of the Women's Society of Christian Service (WSCS), at Trinity 1966-8 during that time the WSCS granted her "Special Membership" reflecting the high esteem in which she was held. Later Olga also served as President of the United Methodist Women in 1987. Over the years Olga has held every women's society position to and in some cases beyond term limits, including Vice-President, Treasurer, and Librarian. In the latter office she worked closely with her husband and they were instrumental in establishing Trinity's Library.

Olga always expanded the coast of any mission she undertook, notably the drive for Campbell Soup labels collected for Red Bird Mission and the outreach to the women at Lowell Correctional Institution with soaps and lotions at a time when all they had was lye soap that would irritate even the most hardened criminal. Olga's thrift through rebates and coupons maximized the reach of all monetary donations to this cause.

Olga has provided an inspirational model of how to serve as a devout Christian woman, helping professional, wife, mother and pillar of society.

The Memorial Service at Trinity Chapel (21JAN2K9)

Officiating                    Dr. Marv McMillin

Prelude                    Gail Werner, pianist

Greeting and Words of Grace                    Dr. Marvin McMillian

Prayer                    Dr. Marvin McMillian

Hymn          In the Garden          No. 314

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

And he walks with me and he talks with me,
And he tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever know.

I'd stay in the garden with him
Though the night around me be falling,
But he bids me go; thru the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling. {Refrain}

Old Testament Scripture          Psalm 23          Patricia Kilby

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
he leadth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
thou anonitest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Words of Remembrance                    Patricia Kilby

For the past four years I have visited Olga on a regular basis. First at her home, near the old Trinity location, where we chatted in her tidy living room. She told me modestly, of her years of service with the United Methodist Women [UMW], which was, back then called Women's Society of Christian Service [WSCS].

She said that when her two boys were in school at Littlewood [Elementary School], and her husband was at work, she would walk over to the church and find something that needed doing, whether it might be tidying the church library or the Sunday School rooms or attending a UMW meeting, later serving as President.

I first heard Olga's name when I was asking about a phenomena I observed there in the rooms that were shared between Stepping Stones Nursery School and the Sunday School Classes. In the rooms for the younger children there was always a doll corner. I caught my attention that all the clothes had been sewn onto the dolls. We all know the endless routines of little girls that dress and undress their dolls, getting practice for the day they become mothers and dress their own babies.

I asked who had done this and someone answered, "a church member named Olga Clark." Well, I did say that Olga was modest and tidy and this solved the problem, in Olga's eyes, of naked baby dolls and doll clothes lost or missing. There is a certain logic in that.

Two things made Olga's eyes light up. One was her talking about her nursing days. One day she went to a chest and brought out her nursing uniform. Do you remember when nurses wore spotless white uniforms with little white caps heavily starched, and a wool navy cape with a red lining (not to mention the white shoes and white hosiery)? She had her uniform intact and carefully preserved. I could imagine her, slim and erect, wearing that uniform as she served others.

The other activity that Olga loved to remember were some of the projects in her UMW days. She was the driving force in providing personal hygiene items to the Lowell Correctional Institution for many, many years. During a time of need a priest who helped at the prison called and told Olga that there was a desperate need for these items for the inmates. Olga remembered that she had shopped around and found good products at low prices to take to the prison. She felt proud of her service but, as usual, her modesty prevented her from celebrating her accomplishments.

As her health began to deteriorate she moved to Palm Garden. At first she had considerable energy and would walk around looking for something to do. She asked if I thought she could visit others, so I gave her the name of two or three that I often visited. For a while she dropped in on them for a chat.

In her neat and tidy way she straightened her room daily and re-made even her roommate's bed. She took pride in how it looked and was so happy when we brought her flowers from the church. She looked forward every other month to receiving a new issue of the Upper Room from her Trinity family.

As time went by, Olga became more isolated. The noise in the dining room and activity areas bothered her. She preferred to stay in her room. I asked her if she thought she'd like to have a television set. Yes, she thought so.

I mentioned it to George Pridgen who was so good at finding solutions. He found a TV set that Trinity never used. Josh Fuller delivered it to Olga and she was pleased. One day she asked me if I would just sit with her and watch a TV program together. We watched "Golden Girls" for half an hour.

Mostly she did not like many of the programs on TV but she found a church station and watched that.

Frequently, my visit would brush up to the time that her son, Robert visited. He was there often and played his African instrument in soft, soothing notes as he talked with her. He kept her mind active with workbooks of mind games that she completed and ticked off.

She knew that her church loved her. She had heard it often from her good friends, the McMillians, the Pridgens and me.

She overcame her modesty to be honored in August of 2007, as one of Trinity's Nonagenarians. In her quiet and unassuming way she served God well, she served Trinity well, and she served her family well.

Hymn          Abide With Me          No. 700

Abide with me; fast falls the eventides;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Words of Remembrance                    Dr. Marvin McMillian

Although Nancy and I have known Olga for more than thirty years, some of you were closer to her during some of her more active years of service, and I hope you will share a remembrance of her with us later in the service.

Nancy and I first visited Olga and Phil shortly before Phil's passing. Olga's health was very fragile. Among other things, she was exhausted.

Nancy and I went with Olga to the doctor and there were serious concerns about her survival. Thankfully, she made a remarkable recovery and had a number of good years, healthwise, thereafter. In fact, Olga was bit surprised to reach ninety which she did almost three years ago.

Although Olga was not one to show great emotion, she was pleased when the Wesley Class had a birthday luncheon for her at Picadilly and also when the church recognized her as a church member over ninety years of age.

During the many years that Nancy took Olga shopping, I sometimes tagged along and on occasion, if Nancy had other responsibilities, Olga and I would go without her. And those were interesting trips. Olga was indeed a good steward of her limited resources. First, we would go to Walgreen's to use the coupons Olga had clipped from the newspaper --no impulse buying --no paying full price at Walgreen's --then to Walmart for planned items --on to the Dollar Store --then Save-a-Lot --then to Winn Dixie to buy advertised bargains only and to Ward's for minute steaks. Nancy and I have missed those shopping trips with Olga since she went to Palm Garden --but Nancy would still get her out for an occasional car ride.

Psalm 116:15 tells us that "precious to the Lord is the death of one of his saints," and Olga was indeed, one of God's Saints. Although she was not outwardly demonstrative, Olga had a strong deep-rooted faith. It was, I believe, a matter-of-fact thing for her. She knew who she was, knew what she believed, and knew where she was going, and now she is there. Hear these comforting words from John 14:1-3

New Testament Scripture          John 14: 1-3          Dr. Marvin McMillian

1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Words of Remembrance                    Nancy McMillian

It's an honor for me to speak about Olga. She was a quiet person, and even those of us that knew her probably didn't really know her. I first was aware of Olga as the United Methodist Woman volunteer who took care of the soup labels years ago. Those of us who used Campbell Soups saved the labels, brought them to church and they were miraculously almost anonymously trimmed to the required shape, bundled and sent away where they earned credits towards our Ministry Voshti.

Olga was that volunteer, and she did it tirelessly for years. In addition, I found out later as I got to know her beyond the casual Sunday morning, "How are you today?" She and her husband, Phil, worked very industriously getting the Church library set up on 8th Avenue.

Olga and her family lived near the Church. Olga didn't drive, but walking over to 8th Avenue was easy. Her two boys Robert and Bruce, were in school and Phil was at work, so Olga gave a lot of her time to our church. She said it was a good way to meet people, and to worthwhile ministries.

Some years ago, as time marched on, Phil became incapacitated and Olga was worn down caring for him. and the house. Marv and I took Olga to the doctor a few times and then Phil passed away.

We realized Olga was pretty well homebound and lonesome, so it became our custom to take her out on a weekly basis. While Olga was in good condition, I took her every Thursday for our shopping forays. In that way, I got to know Olga pretty well. She was reserved and New England self-contained. She was the daughter of two Salvation Army Officers and raised in a God fearing home. I'm sure it was a home of love, but, it was also a no-nonsense place. Every child had his or her vegetable plot and was solely responsible for preparing the ground, sowing the seed, caring for the crop and harvesting the produce.

Olga made all her own clothes and was a serious, motivated nursing student. She practiced nursing for many years and had some interesting stories to tell. She was highly regarded by at least one family who took her with them on trips. She met Phil and they married. She lost one child, but her memory was hazy and she couldn't tell me much about him, not even his name. Robert and Bruce arrived and the family made several excursions in a travel trailer with a group of other in their vehicles. She enjoyed those years.

Olga always had her grocery list made out and was a bargain hunter. The ladies at Save-a-Lot all knew Olga! She was thrifty and like most of us older folks, she was appalled at modern prices. Olga loved to give me hints and I always appreciated hearing of her little tricks she devised for money saving or labor saving or recycling. Bless her heart, she used what she had. She cut the tops off Kleenex boxes and used them as drawer dividers. When she went into Palm Garden in April of 2007, she came into her own as "Queen of Tidy" All her drawers were Better Homes and Gardens examples of neat, organized and tidy. Panties were rolled just so, socks were carefully rolled and aligned just so. She always said she wanted to keep her surroundings tidy and she certainly did. Before she went to Palm Garden her house was tidy. She couldn't shampoo carpets or wash woodwork, but she did keep things tidy.

She was tidy about her person. Olga was always neat, clean and tidy on our shopping trips and we enjoyed our times together. I never felt as if I were doing Olga any favors; I enjoyed having her as my go-along friend. It was not a ministry; it was a pleasure to take Olga out. I'm glad it was a favor for her, but it was a mutual pleasure for us.

After she went to Palm Garden, the shopping trips stopped of course, but we still saw Olga regularly. She loved going for car rides and always exclaimed over the beauty of the clouds. Robert was very faithful to visit her regularly, as was Pat Kilby and several of her friends, especially from the Wesley Class. I didn't tell her about losing George; George and Priscilla [Pridgen] had a special place in her heart and I saw no reason to tell her, when she was so low anyway, that George was gone. Now she sees him and together they are praising God.

She wanted to be able to give back to me and occasionally she'd find a piece of clothing she didn't wear anymore or didn't want and she'd say, "Take this for one of your girls." It was important to her to be at both ends of the "give and take" and we all do well to remember that.

I praise God for the years Marv and I had with Olga. I saw a tight, buttoned-up woman relax and blossom to the openness of being able to respond to me, when I told her I loved her, that she loved me too.

Everyone should have an Olga in their life. God showed His great love for her in providing Marv and Me to be her friends and He showed His love for us in letting us be his tool to love Olga. We all are Christ's hands on earth. We work for Him and we'll never find an employer as loving and as caring. We were privileged to be with Olga shortly before she died and we prayed her right into Heaven.

Robert, Bruce, you have lost your mother, a hurt of great magnitude and we grieve for you. We all have lost a good friend.

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, or the mind of man imagined what God has in store for those who love Him."

Olga loved her God and she is now seeing Him face-to-face. Praise be to God.

Remembrances from Family and Friends

Robert*, Bruce, Paige (Robert's wife), Shirley Miller (Olga's next door neighbor) all spoke extemporaneously.

Hymn          Blessed Assurance          No.369

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

Refrain: This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long; this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is as rest; I in my Savior am happy and blessed, watching and waiting, looking above, filled with his goodness, lost in his love. {Refrain}

Benediction                    Dr. Marvin McMillian

Postlude                    Gail Werner, pianist

*It was Robert's intention read from the following and he had been so distraught that he forgot to bring copies with him, so he spoke of what he could remember from them.


Chapter 27: from The Prophet (1923) by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.

Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink form the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Nirvana, The Waterfall
beginning on page 92 of
Zen Mind, Beginners Mind (1970)
by Shunryu Suzuki

Hanshaku-kyo "Our life and death
are the same thing.
When we realize this fact,
we have no fear of death anymore,
nor actual difficulty in our life."
If you go to Japan and visit Eiheiji monastery, just before you enter you will see a small bridge called Hanshaku-kyo, which means "half-dipper bridge." Whenever Dogen-zenji dipped water from the river, he used only half a dipperfull, returning the rest to the river again, without throwing it away. That is why we call the bridge Hanshaku-kyo, "Half-Dipper Bridge." At Eiheiji when we wash our face, we fill the basin to just seventy percent of its capacity. And after we wash, we empty the water towards, rather than away from, our body. This expresses respect for the water. This kind of practice is not based on any idea of being economical. It may be difficult to understand why Dogen returned half of the water he dipped to the river. This kind of practice is beyond our thinking. When we feel the beauty of the river, when we are one with the water, we intuitively do it in Dogen's way. It is our true nature to do so. But if your true nature is covered by ideas of economy or efficiency, Dogen's way makes no sense.

I went to Yosemite National Park, and I saw some huge waterfalls. The highest one there is 1,340 feet high, and from it the water comes down like a curtain thrown from the top of the mountain. It does not seem to come down swiftly, as you might expect; it seems to come down very slowly because of the distance. And the water does not come down as one stream, but is separated into many tiny streams. From a distance it looks like a curtain. And I thought it must be a very difficult experience for each drop of water to come down from the top of such a high mountain. It takes time, you know, a long time, for the water finally to reach the bottom of the waterfall. And it seems to me that our human life may be like this. We have many difficult experiences in our life. But at the same time, I thought, the water was not originally separated, but was one whole river. Only when it is separated does it have some difficulty in falling. It is as if the water does not have any feeling when it is one whole river. Only when separated into many drops can it begin to have or to express some feeling. When we see one whole river we do not feel the living activity of the water, but when we dip a part of the water into a dipper, we experience some feeling of the water, and we also feel the value of the person who uses the water. Feeling ourselves and the water in this way, we cannot use it in just a material way. It is a living thing.

Before we were born we had no feeling; we were one with the universe. This is called "mind-only," or "essence of mind," or "big mind," After we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling from the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling. You have difficulty because you have feeling. You attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life.

When the water returns to its original oneness with the river, it no longer has any individual feeling to it; it resumes its own nature, and finds composure. How very glad the water must be to come back to the original river! If this is so, what feeling will we have when we die? I think we are like the water in the dipper. We will have composure then, perfect composure. It may be too perfect for us, just now, because we are so much attached to our own feeling, to our individual existence. For us, just now, we have some fear of death, but after we resume our true original nature, there is Nirvana, That is why we say, "To attain Nirvana is to pass away," "To pass away" is not a very adequate expression. Perhaps "to pass on," or "to go on," or "to join" would be better. Will you try to find some better expression for death ? When you find it, you will have quite a new interpretation of your life. It will be like my experience when I saw the water in the big waterfall. Imagine! It was 1,340 feet high! We say, "Everything comes out of emptiness." One whole river or one whole mind is emptiness. When we reach this understanding we find the true meaning of our life. When we reach this understanding we can see the beauty of human life. Before we realize this fact, everything that we see is just delusion. Sometimes we overestimate the beauty; sometimes we underestimate or ignore the beauty because our small mind is not in accord with reality.

To talk about it this way is quite easy, but to have the actual feeling is not so easy. But by your practice of zazen you can cultivate this feeling. When you can sit with your whole body and mind, and with the oneness of your mind and body under the control of the universal mind, you can easily attain this kind of right understanding. Your everyday life will be renewed without being attached to an old erroneous interpretation of life. When you realize this fact, you will discover how meaningless your old interpretation was, and how much useless effort you had been making. You will find the true meaning of life, and even though you have difficulty falling upright from the top of the waterfall to the bottom of the mountain, you will enjoy your life.

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Literary and Graphical Freeware: Not for Commercial Use. Copyright © 1998-2K9 R. Clark - clark@acceleration.net. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this publication (home.acceleration.net/clark and all children) provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Literary and Graphical Freeware:  Not for Commercial Use.
Copyright (c) 1998-2011  R. Clark - clark@acceleration.net .
Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this publication (www.acceleration.net/clark and all children) provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.