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Obituary for Barbara Clark

Barbara Clark, 89, of Northfield, MN died on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at Northfield Retirement Community. Barbara Jean Rockne was born in Rochester, MN to Elnor “Bud” and Irene (Anderson) Rockne on October 17, 1930. She was raised in Zumbrota and graduated from Zumbrota High School. She attended Carleton College, where she met William Hartley Clark. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Barbara and Hartley were married on June 27, 1953. They lived in New York, NY for a year and Barbara taught at the St. Mary’s Cathedral School on Long Island. They moved to Oxford, OH […]

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Barbara Clark, 89, of Northfield, MN died on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at Northfield Retirement Community.

Barbara Jean Rockne was born in Rochester, MN to Elnor “Bud” and Irene (Anderson) Rockne on October 17, 1930. She was raised in Zumbrota and graduated from Zumbrota High School. She attended Carleton College, where she met William Hartley Clark. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Barbara and Hartley were married on June 27, 1953.

They lived in New York, NY for a year and Barbara taught at the St. Mary’s Cathedral School on Long Island. They moved to Oxford, OH for a year where their first child, Heather, was born. They moved to Northfield in 1955 after Hartley received a job as a professor at Carleton. They bore and raised the rest of their children in Northfield.

Barbara was an educator and began working in the Northfield school system in special education at the primary and secondary levels after her own children reached school age. She received her Masters degree in Special Education from Mankato State University. She was active in DFL politics and was the first woman to hold the position of Chair of the First Congressional District DFL. She was also appointed to the Higher Education Coordinating Board by Governor Wendell Anderson. She was an initiator in the organization of the Goodhue Rice Wabasha Community Action Council, now called Three Rivers CAC. She and her family hosted several scholars from the ABC program which brought promising students from educationally disadvantaged areas of the US to attend high school in Northfield.

Barbara was very passionate about social issues. She inspired her children to take part in political life in their communities. Barbara was an exceptional teacher and kept in touch with many of her students even after she retired from teaching. She was a fond mother and grandmother. Barbara liked nothing more than having her family around her and they will miss her dearly.

Barbara is survived by her husband Hartley Clark; children Heather Clark (Gary) Robins of Northfield, Jill Clark of Northfield, Robert Clark of St. Louis, MO, and Ted Clark (Maria Berger) of Minneapolis; and grandchildren Alex and Chloe Robins.

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents; and siblings Louise and David Rockne.

No services are planned for Barbara because of the pandemic restrictions.

Arrangements are with Bierman Funeral Home & Crematory, Northfield. www.biermanfuneralhome.com

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13 Comments

  1. Rolf Dittmann

    Heather and family, My condolences to all of you for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  2. Kathy and Ernie Thomas

    Thanks for sending this obituary to us. Barbara will be missed by all who knew her.
    Our condolences go out to your family.

    Reply
  3. Merrell Clark

    My sister in law Barbara will be missed, in her family and among her friends. She treasured the people in her family and friends with a kind of enthusiasm that was palpable, resilient, enduring.

    It was a joy to watch the relationship between Barbara and her husband Hartley, full of good humor and lively for 67 years. Similarly, it has been reassuring to see Heather and siblings Jill, Rob and Ted pay homage to the love and respect they learned in their home from birth.

    Her memory is worthy.

    Reply
  4. Betsy Shieh

    When I think of Barbara I think of her big laugh and the twinkle in her eye. I can still hear her on the front porch of the cottage with all our parents long after we were “asleep.” My deepest condolences to all of you. We love you Barbara!

    Reply
  5. Jean Johnson

    My condolences to all of the Clark family, especially Heather and Jill. Your mom was so cool, smart, and funny. Always so kind to us when we would invade your house as kids, after school or for a slumber party. Peace.

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Patterson

    I was one of Barbra’s caregivers at NRC. I am not longer there but would still think of her and Hartley. I had many great conversations with Barbra. She was so bright and such great wit about her. I would often get updates from her about current events of the day. It was such a blessing to have met such a great soul. She will be missed.

    Reply
  7. yunifer kengere

    My condolences to clark’s family. For a short period I cared for your mother, she was such a good mother to have. she liked politics as I do, sometimes she could update me before I could do anything she want. It was great to have her.

    Reply
  8. Debbie Graff

    I am so sorry for your loss. May God hold you till the hurt subsides.

    Reply
  9. Mary Lewis Grow

    Barbara and Hartley may have been the first people I met after I married Roy and moved to Northfield. They gave us such a warm welcome. I’ll always remember a landmark event we shared together: watching the Democracy Movement unfold in China, with its tragic outcome. We watched together on their t.v., absolutely glued. Barbara was a significant presence in Northfield and the wider community.

    My condolences to Hartley and the whole family.

    Reply
  10. Michael Carver

    My prayers of support are offered to the entire family: I also proud of all that Barbara accomplished in her long life.
    As a first cousin I have a special relationship with Barbara
    Michael RockneCarver

    Reply
  11. Bruce and Roberts

    I cannot imagine a world without Barbara Clark.! She was a “lighthouse” to many. Barbara did not care about where her students lived etc. She truly loved them and lifted them up.
    There are not words that can express what Barbara Clark did for our family.
    There are not words that can express what Barbara(and Harley) meant to our son David.
    Barbara was David’s friend. She listened to him!. She appreciated him!. They agreed on DFL politics..they were kindred spirits in wanting good things for all people. regardless of pedigree or academic laurels.
    Barbara and Harley have left their legacy. and their family have left a powerful legacy of service and love.

    Hartley, the song, “In My Solitude” is one which will always bring memories of you and Barbara.
    So much love and gratitude.
    Jan and Bruce Roberts.

    Reply
  12. Wallace Hays

    Across the miles and the decades, the Hays family sends our thoughts and prayers to Hartley and all the Clark family. We so enjoyed our visit with Barbara and Hartley just a few years ago.

    Reply
  13. Martha Hays Moore

    My heart goes out to Hartley and the entire Clark family as you navigate this loss. I am remembering all the wonderful times in the 1960’s that Barbara hosted our family for dinner and we kids played hide and seek, watched Hawaii 5-0 and generally had the most wonderful times of rumpus! Barbara also spent time reading Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories to us at the cabin in New York – I was captivated by her read alouds! I know what special friends Barbara and Hartley were to my parents, Forbes and Susie Hays. When Forbes (who taught Political Science at Carleton) died in an accident at age 32, Barbara and Hartley gave tremendous support to Susie. Five years ago, my brother, Wally and his daughter, Sophia, spent a lovely evening at the Clark home when Sophia was touring Carleton. That evening of reconnection meant a great deal to Wally. These things I will always remember and hold dear when I think of Barbara…love to all. Martha Hays Moore

    Reply

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