Margaret Clark was born June 11, 1926, to Walter and Rose McIlwrath in Enterprise, Oregon. Walter was an army veteran and worked as a miner and, later, a logger. Her mother, Rose, was born in France and immigrated to America, along with her family, when she was a child.
Shortly after Margaret’s first birthday, she lost her father in a logging accident. Two years later her mother, Rose, married Ivan Womack (known as Pop to Margaret), who lovingly and devotedly cared for Margaret as his own daughter. Rose and Ivan later had a son, Margaret’s half-brother, Ivan, known as“Bud”, who has spent most of his adult life in Alaska, where he continues to reside.
Margaret spent much of her early years living in Oregon logging camps, where Pop was the camp cook and baker. Baking was his specialty, and he later owned and operated several bakeries in Oregon and Alaska.
Margaret went to high school at Hillsboro High, in Hillsboro, Oregon. She was an especially talented soprano, often performing on stage as a soloist, singing in high school and college productions, and providing the music for many of her friends’ weddings. Later in life she sang with the Sweet Adelines. She was also quite skilled at playing the violin. Not long ago she had her violin re-strung and passed it on to her great-granddaughter, Clara. After high school Margaret attended Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where she continued to study music.
In 1946, just before her 20th birthday, she married the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Clark, whom she first met in high school. Together they bore three children: a son, Wesley Ivan, who died at birth in 1947; a daughter, Linda Margaret, born in 1949; and a son, Robert Wellington Jr., “Bobby”, born in 1953, who lived only three short years.
In 1957 Bob, Margaret and Linda moved to Juneau, Alaska, where Margaret’s parents owned a bakery. When her Pop’s health began to fail, Margaret and Bob bought the bakery and ran it for close to 15 years before moving to Anchorage, Alaska. There they opened another bakery. Later Bob closed out his career by teaching commercial baking at the University of Alaska.
Margaret had a 14 year career with the State of Alaska. Her work days began especially early, though, because before going to the office she came into the bakery to fry and glaze the morning’s donuts. After work she hurried back to the bakery to help close up the shop and clean the cases. Despite this double-duty, Margaret’s career with the State was successful. One of her positions was Finance Officer for the Office of the Governor, where she had the sole responsibility of preparing the Governor’s budget and presenting it to the Legislative Budget Committee. She finally retired from the State in 1981, while she was serving as the Administrative Officer for the Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska State Troopers.
After retirement, Bob and Margaret moved to Oregon to be closer to her daughter Linda, son-in-law Dan, and two grandsons Chris and Tim. These may have been the best years of her life. Being close to the grandchildren was a great joy to her. She and Bob spent a lot of time with them and enjoyed taking them on camping trips to the Oregon coast.
Margaret was a dedicated Christian, with the honor of supporting Bob in his work as an elder in churches of Christ in four different congregations in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. A few years after Bob’s death, in 1997, Margaret moved from Oregon to Carlsbad, New Mexico. It was during these years that she was blessed with two great-grandchildren, Clara Margaret and Robert Fox Judd, the children of her grandson, Christopher and his wife Kelsey. Margaret was loved by her neighbors and church friends in Carlsbad. She was well-known for knocking on neighbors’ doors and handing them a plate of her warm-from-the-oven cranberry/orange scones.
In 2014 Margaret decided that living independently was becoming difficult. With the help of her daughter, Linda, she packed up and moved to Belton, Texas, into a lovely little apartment in Stoney Brook Assisted Living, just ten minutes away from Linda and Dan. Although she lived there less than a year, she had already made many new friends from Stoney Brook and from her new church family, the Avenue T church of Christ.