Sylvia Smith Clark
May 7, 1933 - October 24, 2021
Sylvia was born in Washington, DC, to Virginia and Fred M. Smith and grew up in New Orleans, LA. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College. She was married to David Clark and they raised their family in Holland, MI. The family lived a year each in England and Japan. In the 1950s, Sylvia worked against racial discrimination in housing in Boston, and she and David were active in civil rights in Holland. Sylvia later earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago. She established her career as a psychiatric social worker at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she mentored younger people who became lifelong friends.
After her retirement, Sylvia continued to live in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, pursuing her interests in indoor gardening, art, theology, and literature. She attended St. Paul and the Redeemer Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, where she participated in the Mosaic Project to form creative liturgies incorporating art, poetry, and innovative ritual. Several years ago, she moved to the Oak Park Arms Retirement Community in Oak Park, IL, and soon became an active member of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. In April 2020 she was hospitalized with COVID19 and when she recovered, moved into the Forest Park, IL, home of her daughter Emily, where she spent the following year.
She moved very recently to the Episcopal Homes nursing home in St. Paul, MN, to be near her daughter Anna, where she passed away peacefully while in hospice, with her three daughters close by her side. Sylvia is survived by her daughters and their partners, Anna Clark (Anne), Hilary Clark (Britta) and Emily Victorson (Kenneth), as well as by her grandchildren, Zoe Clark (Austin) and Jonah Victorson, and her sister, Linda Wilson (Paul). Throughout her life, Sylvia has developed very close friendships with many people with whom she shared intellectual and spiritual interests. She will surely be missed by all of us.
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