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Ann J. (Strickland) ClarkOctober 20, 1937 ~ November 23, 2017 (age 80)
Ann Judith Strickland Clark
October 20, 1937 – November 23, 2017
A native of small-town Maine, she often went by the nickname Stricky. The youngest of three, Ann grew up like a sister to her niece and six nephews. She had a happy childhood with a big, loving, and loyal family. She met and married her soulmate, Del Clark, in the Army and lived out her adult life in Del’s hometown of Rockford, IL. There, she was known simply as Annie. She was a strong, independent, free spirit who lived her life boldly. Her compassion and kindness towards others touched the lives of friends, family and total strangers alike.
Ann was born on October 20, 1937 in Fairfield, ME. She attended Immaculate Heart of Mary Grade School and went on to be a 1955 graduate of Lawrence High School in Fairfield. She worked for the telephone company in Waterville, ME before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1957.
Ann was certified in teletype operations by the Signal School of Ft. Gordon, GA. While stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, she found the love of her life in Del. They were married on October 25, 1957 and recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Assigned to a base in Germany soon after their wedding, they traveled Europe together including a visit to the Vatican where they attended a papal audience. Ann was honorably discharged after 2-1/2 years of service. She was proud to be a Veteran of the U.S. Women’s Army Corp. She loved red, white and blue and her home still flies the flags of America and the US Army.
Ann worked at Illinois Water Treatment, where she excelled on the switchboard, until she and Del adopted their son, Terry, in 1966. She held various administrative roles with Smith Oil Corp from ’68 to ’76. The job she was most known for was dispatcher for the Rockford Police Department. Before retirement, she also served as the administrative assistant to the president of Rockford College.
Ann would take in any stray, animal or human. She loved animals and her home always had dogs, cats and even birds. Her big heart could not accept the idea of someone without family or a place to call home. She and Del selflessly opened their home to some special people over the years and her caring, generous spirit touched the lives of many.
Ann loved spending summers at Fish Lake, WI with her family and friends. She was very social and outgoing and had friends everywhere she went. She shared a love of music with her son, Terry, who played her favorites for her even in the final days.
Described by her husband as a political junkie, she was passionate about local and national issues. A community activist, she was a frequent guest on various WNTA and WROK radio shows. “Annie from the radio” became a local celebrity known for her conservative views and recognized by her unique, warm voice and distinct Maine accent.
Ann was that person who brightened the room just by walking in. She had the family penchant for storytelling. She was a practical jokester and loved a good laugh – at the expense of herself or others. A champion of celebrating the accomplishments of others, she found the best in people and was always cheering them on. She had a gift for making people feel special and loved. Ann had a lot of moxie and lived a loving, happy life.
Ann and Del had a birthday tradition of calling family members to sing Happy Birthday in their own special style that has carried on through generations. No birthday will be the same without her voice. No day will be the same without her. Godspeed, Annie.
Survived by her husband, Delmar Clark of Rockford, IL; son, Terry (Lisa) Clark of Oregon, WI; granddaughter, Evan Clark of Lakewood, OH; niece, Mary Lee (Gary) Jones of Belvidere, IL; nephews, Dick Holt, Mike (Linda) Holt, Pat (Kim) Holt and John Holt, all of Maine.
Predeceased by her parents, Harry Lyle and Susie G. (McGuire) Strickland; sister, F. Genevieve (Scott) Holt; brother, Hubert L. Strickland; and nephews, Scott Obadiah (Sandra) Holt and Terry James Holt.
In lieu of a formal service, Ann requested that friends and family gather for a celebration of life. Please join us at the American Legion, 1011 S. Alpine Rd., Rockford 61108 for an open house on Sunday, December 3, from 1:00 to 4:00pm. Remarks around 2:00pm.