Mary Lou Clark, an artist, teacher, and longtime resident of Cohasset, passed peacefully on April 16, 2020, at the Elaine Center Nursing Home in Hadley, Massachusetts.
Mary Lou was born in 1934 in Alexandria, Virginia, to Mary Catherine Wilson and Joseph James (“Jocko”) Clark, a Navy pilot and legendary admiral who commanded the USS Yorktown in the Battle of Midway in WWII, and retired as the highest ranking naval officer of Cherokee descent in American history. Mary Lou attended St. Agnes Episcopal School in Alexandria, and went on to Smith College, ultimately graduating from Southern Methodist University with a degree in French and Spanish. She also earned a Masters’ Degree in French Existential Literature from George Washington University, had three years of law school at George Washington University and New England School of Law, and earned a studio art degree from the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston.
From 1989 to 2016, Mary Lou shared her love of art with students at Quincy College as Adjunct Professor of Art, and was voted Teacher of the Year. In addition to being a gifted teacher and mentor, she was a prolific oil painter and watercolorist whose work was shown in galleries and exhibits throughout the South Shore and Greater Boston area, and in friends’ and families’ homes around the world.
Mary Lou made friends easily, and could start a conversation with literally anyone, from strangers at the bus stop to families in a prison waiting room (where she went to teach art to prisoners in the 1980s and 1990s). Mary Lou wrote: “We learn a lot by venturing out and meeting people who have a harder struggle. It is a mutual exchange of experiences and just being human beings together.” She loved to laugh, walk on Sandy Beach in Cohasset, speak French and Spanish, dance and play piano. Her deep ties to her local community included teaching Sunday School at St. Stephens’ and being an active member of the Cohasset Democratic Committee. She will be remembered by her family as well as hundreds of friends and acquaintances as an original and inspiring role model who “gave people permission to be themselves.”
She is survived by her children Marjorie, Caroline, Caleb, Josiah and Laura; grandchildren Joseph, Kosaul, Moniha, Maya, Dega, Liliana, and Jacob.
A memorial service will be held in Cohasset, MA, in the summer of 2020, details TBD. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to Partakers (College Behind Bars), 230 Central Street Auburndale, MA 02466 or online at http://partakers.org/how-to-get-involved/