Former High Springs resident and business owner Suzie Ann Clark passed away on April 1, 2022, at the age of 82.
After earning a degree in massage therapy, Clark moved to High Springs in 1995 where she opened the Wellness Spa of High Springs.
She was a member of the High Springs Chamber of Commerce, volunteered for the High Springs Historic Society and created items for the Historic Museum to sell to earn money. Clark served on the High Springs Parks and Recreation Board from 2002 – 2021.
She was also a member of the League of Women Voters. Her philosophy was, “If you want to make a change, then you needed to be involved, be educated and vote.”
She joined the GFWC High Springs New Century Woman's Club in October 2001 and served in many positions and as president from 2004 – 2007.
Clark also held sewing sessions with a group of avid seamstresses in her spa facility to create burial outfits from bridal gowns for babies who were born but didn’t survive childbirth or who died very young.
“She was a staunch supporter of first responders, always smiling and embracing High Springs police officers with a hug and ensuring that we were wearing our protective ballistic vests,” said High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard.
Clark was active with senior programs in High Springs and throughout the area. Clark participated in Senior Recreation Center events in Gainesville, where she showed off her humbug bags, quilts and other stitched items. She spearheaded Zumba classes at the High Springs Civic Center that continued for almost two decades (pre-COVID) and continued the program at her spa in later years.
She was also one of the founding members of the High Springs Garden Club and Community Garden.
An early morning telephone call would find Clark on a walk for exercise with friends and to enjoy the morning air and get caught up on what her walking friends were doing. If she wasn’t out taking a walk in town, she would be walking along the beach collecting driftwood. She was also a member of the High Springs Yellow Belly Sliders Bicycle Club.
She was passionate about quilting and adored collecting unusual and interesting materials for her creations. A display of her quilt work is currently at the Historic High Springs Elementary School and Community Center located behind City Hall.
Clark was an active member of the Tri-City Quilters Guild and also loved to make clothes. Each year for Christmas she would make her granddaughters all sorts of clothes including vests, shirts, and sweaters. She also loved to make humbug bags, mug rugs and cross-stitched bookmarks. Clark always said quilting was a stress reliever and described it as “therapeutic.”
She ushered in the Quilt Trail program into High Springs and made sure other quilters knew about the program so they would come and view the quilts on buildings around High Springs.
Clark was a soft touch for any cat or kitten who was hungry or didn’t have a home. For years she would gather up feral cats and have them spayed/neutered. Many of the cats stayed to become her own. She fed many of them outside and accepted some who were tame enough to be house cats into the house.
She was especially fond of and bragged constantly about her grandkids and their accomplishments. She created gifts for them throughout the year and enjoyed sharing stories about how well they were doing in their chosen areas.
In her formative years Clark graduated high school in 1957 from Kenmoore West in Buffalo, New York. From there she went on to graduate in 1961 From Buffalo State Teachers College with a bachelors’ degree in home economics. She eventually returned to school for a degree in recreation and gerontology from Brockport College.
During her college years, Clark married and became a mother to her only child, Monica.
She worked in a variety of jobs including Western New York Child Care and Catholic Family Center at Holy Cross and St. Michaels. Clark was not only a Girl Scout leader, but also, she was a paid Girl Scout who taught women how to be Girl Scout leaders. She was also an inspector of day camps and camps.
A woman of many talents, Clark worked at the Strong Museum constructing exhibits as well as teaching recreation at St John Fisher College for over 20 years.
As if her career and being a mother wasn’t busy enough, in 1969 her farm was the first licensed organic farm in Orleans County. She was also a very talented folk musician, who played a variety of instruments including the Hammer dulcimer, auto harp, mountain dulcimer, and the spoons.
In 1971 Clark started the Turtle Hill Folk Festival in Rush, New York, which just celebrated its 50th year in 2021 and Clark was proud to be in attendance for the 50th year anniversary of this festival. Turtle Hill got its name because it was first held on her farm behind the garage where there was a hill that resembled a turtle.
For over 20 years Clark was a member of the Golden Eagle String Band and during that time the band worked on five records, two videos, one tap, two song books and a CD. The band had a national recording contract with Folkways Records and two of their records are now part of the American History Museum at the Smithsonian Institution.
Clark also loved to garden and composted before composting was popular. Her family acknowledged that she could grow some amazing strawberries. She had a large coy fish pond that made her garden extra special. She was multi-talented and crafty. One of her projects was to make Faberge-style eggs and she also built furniture.
Clark always had a smile on her face and loved to laugh and joke. She used to say, “My 4 F’s keep me going: Family, friends, fabric and felines.”
She will be deeply missed by family and friends.
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