Helen Jean Clark

Helen Jean Clark

July 21, 1927 – August 25, 2018
Albia, Iowa | Age 91

Helen Jean Clark, age 91, of Albia, passed away on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at the Monroe Care Center in Albia surrounded by her loved ones.

Helen Jean (Ford) Clark was born on July 21, 1927, to William Barber and Dorothy Ann (Lawson) Ford in Albia, Iowa. She was one of four girls born to her parents.

Helen was a lifelong Albia resident and 1945 graduate of Albia High School, where she met her future husband, Glenn Davis Clark.

Helen and Glenn were born two days apart, a detail of their story that made them seem destined for each other. After marrying on February 27, 1948, they had three children: Susan Jean, David William, and Cynthia Marie.

Upon graduation from high school, Helen started to work in the Monroe County Department of Social Welfare as a junior stenographer, where she served until 1953. At that point, she commuted to the Iowa General Assembly, where she served as a secretary to a Committee Chairman in the House of Representatives. She served in multiple additional administrative positions throughout her career, including for the Veterans Administration Hospital, Hollingshead Abstract Office, First Christian Church, Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation, and Albia Manor.

A strong proponent of pursuing higher education, Helen decided to obtain college degrees later in life. She graduated in May 1979 from Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa, with a business degree, and in May 1980 from Des Moines Area Community College with a degree in health care administration – both times with a 4.0 GPA. For the majority of her adult life, Helen and Glenn owned and operated Clark’s Garbaze in Albia.

A strong Christian, Helen put her love of music and administrative skills to work through multiple roles within the church throughout the years, including organist, Sunday school teacher, Junior Choir Director, bookkeeper, and deaconess. Helen instilled this strong sense of faith in her children and grandchildren, and they spent countless hours with her at the church.

Helen also loved to travel and passed this love along through the generations. She achieved her goal of visiting all 50 states and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America – frequently taking her kids and grandkids with her. Helen never rested, keeping her young late into life.

For Helen, family always came first. She rarely missed a band concert or birthday party, and her grandkids recall fondly the many summers spent at the house she and Glenn built together. Later in life, she most treasured the time she got to spend with her great-grandkids.

Helen is survived by her daughters, Susan (& Stan) Gilland and Cindy Gustafson; seven grandchildren: Stacie (& William) Day, Seth (& Cindi) Gilland, Nicole Gustafson, Sarah (& Curt) Hopkins, Melanie (& Mike) Hatch, Scott (& Ricki) Gilland, and Becky Gustafson; eighteen great-grandchildren: Mason and Katie Day, Lia and Ethan Gilland, Olivia, Sophia, Cameron, and Avery Hopkins, Hannah and Hayden Hatch, Brenden and Brylee Woolsey, Collin, Mikayla, Case, and Cooper Gilland, and Carter and Madison Gustafson; and a sister, Patricia Hanson.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband Glenn; their son, David; her parents; sisters, Marcella and Velma; and son-in-law, Jeff Gustafson.

Visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 28, 2018, at Tharp Funeral Home in Albia, with Helen’s family present from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. to greet family and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, August 29, 2018, at the Tharp Funeral Home in Albia with Pastor Terry Chapman officiating.
Burial will follow services at Oak View Cemetery in Albia.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Helen Jean Clark please visit the Tharp Funeral Home Sympathy Store.

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