On Saturday, May 28, 2022, Shirley Jean Lockwood Clark, loving mother of three daughters, passed away peacefully at the age of 91. Shirley was born in Algona, Iowa on October 7, 1930 to Walter Lockwood and Elsie Hoffmann Lockwood. She was raised in Burt, Iowa, graduating from high school in 1948.
She received her teaching certificate from Iowa State Teacher’s College in 1950 and began her teaching career in Akron, Iowa. While teaching kindergarten in Akron, she met the love of her life, Arnold Clark. They married on June 22, 1952 at The United Methodist Church in Burt and, shortly thereafter, Arnie left to serve his country in The Korean Conflict. Their first son, Steven, was born in 1953, followed by Rochelle in 1955. Tragically, Steve would live only a few short years, passing away from leukemia in 1958. Losing a child was always the greatest test of Shirley’s unwavering faith; something that brought her to tears even in her last days. In 1958, shortly before Steve passed away, Jennifer was born. Their last child, Colette, was welcomed in 1960. With their family complete, Arnie found a new and challenging career change, and the family moved to Spencer, Iowa.
Shirley focused on raising her children until her last daughter entered kindergarten. At that time, she returned to teaching. For the next 26 years she taught at Clay Central Community Schools. Shirley’s talents and attention positively impacted the formative years of her 3rd grade students . Her love of poetry, puppetry and music were always an essential part of each and every class. Until the day of her death, her former students continued to care for her, connect with her and love her. It was always a goal of Shirley’s to get her bachelor’s degree. So in 1975, she graduated from Buena Vista College with a degree in elementary education.
Shirley and Arnie enjoyed traveling and making memories with their young daughters, instilling in them the love of travel. As empty nesters they took many trips to Europe, Scandinavia and even to Thailand, where an elephant trek to the hill tribes near Chiang Rai was the highlight of their visit. Shirley and Arnie traveled all over the Midwest gathering historical data and taking pictures of barns as Shirley worked to create a “barn program” presentation that she would later deliver to various groups all over Iowa. She also collected and compiled historical information on the history of the “apron;” collecting many variations of the garment along the way. Her “apron program” was full of songs written by her and was a favorite of many organizations to whom it was presented.
In 1987, they became an AFS family to Susana de Costa, a high school senior and foreign exchange student from Lisbon, Portugal. Shirley and Arnie welcomed her into their home and Susana quickly became a permanent fixture in their lives and in the lives of their children. That same year, the three of them traveled to California. While visiting they were able to attend Shirley’s favorite game show, The Price Is Right, where she was chosen as an onstage contestant. Shirley Clark! Come On Down! You are the next contestant on The Price Is Right!
Shirley was a passionate bridge player, golfer, flutist and loved playing the piano for the residents at Riverview Terrace Assisted Living and St. Luke Lutheran Home well into her 80s. Until her death, she was still playing bridge 1-2 times a week. Shirley was active in many organizations in Spencer. Some of her notable contributions include Clef Club, PEO Sisterhood and AFS. She enjoyed volunteering at Spencer Community Theatre, Arts on Grand, Meals on Wheels and The Spencer Area Activities Center (Action Club). She was very active in her church, Trinity Lutheran, having been the choir director, an accompanist, a confirmation teacher, a Sunday School teacher, an ESL Teacher, a member of Ruth Circle and a representative on church council. Shirley and Arnie were avid sports fans, so much so that she was nominated in 2008 by the Spencer Athletic Department to be honored state-wide as an athletic “super fan”.
Left to cherish her memory are her three daughters, Rochelle (William) Lamport of Richmond, TX, Jennifer (Pat) Schomberg of Fort Dodge, and Colette (Leo) Rossiter of Spencer; her eight grandchildren, Luke Lamport, Caitlyn (Josh) Hughes, Abby (Scott) Heider, Allison (Kyle) Hoehns, Joe (Alexa) Schomberg, Elizabeth (Brett) Faine, Emily (Riley) Monahan, and Erin Rossiter (Nick Quinones). She is also survived by her 14 great grandchildren; Emery Lamport, Quinn Hughes, Jackson, Meri, Anna, Calvin and Mila Heider, Tate and Leighton Hoehns, Stella, Henrik and Graham Faine and Brooks and Brody Monahan as well as her sister-in-law, Jean Lockwood of Burt, Iowa. She was preceded in death by Arnie, her husband of 52 years, her son Steven, her parents and her brother Dale Lockwood.
The family would like to thank so many of her friends, both near and far, for caring and loving Shirley. She received countless phone calls, greeting cards and in-person visits that no doubt made her last days much brighter. There are too many special people to mention here, but your kindness and love did not go unnoticed.