In Memory Of
Clara Jimmie Clark
What a wonderful lady, so well known and loved. Always, at every gathering, thoroughly enjoying herself and everyone around her. She had such a kind and loving disposition. It was a joy to see her smiling and dancing at the tribal hall. When she walked in, everyone loved her and the room lit up. She is missed by so many throughout Fairbanks and all of the villages. No matter, who you were,she had a welcoming hug and a good visit. Such a special woman, we are all blessed with wonderful memories of Clara.
She left a legacy of humbleness, love, inspiration, respect, hard work to her children, grandchildren, and her many friends. The memories of her will forever be treasured.
Clara (Jimmie) Clark was born in Old Louden, Alaska on October 12, 1925 to George Jimmie and Rebecca (Albert) Jimmie. She and her family lived a traditional, nomadic lifestyle, until she was about six years old, when her family moved to settle in Galena. She attended school until 6th grade and eventually convinced her father that she should go to boarding school in Eklutna, so that she could obtain her high school diploma. She stayed at Eklutna for four years without going home. During the summers, she worked at various jobs. She graduated from Eklutna Vocational School in May 1943. She was the first one in her family to get her high school diploma. Clara was a life-long learner and valued education for herself, her children and grandchildren.
After finishing high school, she went back home until she moved to Ruby. In 1949, she married Ralph Holmberg. Together they had eight children and lived in Tanana, Manley Hots Springs, Los Angeles and Fairbanks. Their marriage ended. In 1966, she married Gordon Clark, whom she remained married to until her death. They had one daughter. They spent many happy years together camping, hunting, fishing and “just going for drives”.
Clara held many occupations in her life – nurses’ assistant, laundry worker, seamstress, and housekeeper. She was incredibly artistic and creative, a trait that many of her children inherited. Clara often could be found knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidering and beading. Her craftwork was beautiful and precise.
She loved old time fiddle music and loved to dance, especially jitterbugging. Clara could be found at every Athabascan Fiddlers Festival in November. Even after she could no longer dance to every song because of pain in her hips or legs, she would sit throughout the four days of the Festival, tapping her foot, enjoying the music ,and people.
She was a natural culture bearer. She taught her Athabascan language to younger people, along with sharing her stories, beading, cooking, and skin sewing with anyone who wanted to learn. She loved to give and share what she had and knew.
She loved to travel in-state and out-of-state with family and friends. She learned to drive in her early 50s and drove until she was 90.
She liked doing crosswords puzzles, going to bingo, putting together puzzles and was a proficient Scrabble player, often beating her college educated daughters. Clara was a woman full of God’s grace. Her faith was of great importance to her and she shared that faith freely with her friends and family, often telling us to pray through our tribulations. Of all the things Clara was, the thing that she defined herself by, the most difficult job she had, and the one that brought her the most joy was being our Mother and Grandmother. She loved her family fiercely. She prayed for us daily, nearing the end of her life. She told us how she loved us, like it was her honor, when it was really ours.
Her children and her many grandchildren will always remember the many sacrifices and gifts she left us with.