GAINESVILLE, FL — Dr. Mrs. Gloria Irene Williams Norman Clark passed away peacefully at home on April 3, 2019. Gloria will be sadly missed by her husband, “Lean on Me” Eastside High School Principal, Dr. Joe Clark, her children, step-children, grandchildren, brothers, and countless relatives and friends.
Gloria was born on the 11th of September 1944 in North Carolina. She attended elementary, junior high and high school in Dunn, North Carolina, where she lived with her mother, brothers, cousins, grandparents, great aunts and uncles. Gloria was the only girl in her immediate family, so her uncles took her anywhere she needed to go. Her grandmother took her to church every Sunday.
Her grandmother was also a missionary, so she would take Gloria on her visits to the poor and shut-in, instilling in Gloria her life-long commitment to service. Gloria’s childhood summers were spent with extended family throughout the state.
Gloria enjoyed school. She graduated high school at 16 and worked at an elementary school as a teacher’s aide until she was 17, when she then spent a year of study at North Carolina Central College. That year, she met her first husband, Rufus Norman, Jr. and married and moved with him to Brooklyn, New York. Soon after they welcomed their first-born daughter, Cheryl.
An early Civil Rights volunteer and “Women’s “Libber,” Gloria continued working with children at Jamaica Daycare Center in Queens, New York where, together with her husband, they purchased her first house.
They had two more daughters, Victoria and Judith, before moving to New Jersey, where she would live most of her adult life.
While raising her three daughters, Gloria returned to college. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Montclair State College and was a member of Phi Delta Kappa. She next earned a Master of Art Degree from Jersey City State College, where she was initiated into Delta Pi Epsilon. Gloria taught in private schools and public schools, later serving as a high school administrator.
Gloria continued her education, earning enough graduate credits from summer courses at University of California-Davis to put her at Ph.D status.
During her tenure at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, she met her second husband, Dr. Joe Clark. Both retired from their careers in education and relocated to Gainesville, Florida, a community she has proudly called home for the past twenty years.
Even in her retirement, Gloria remained active in the lives of her children and grandchildren and her Gainesville community. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the Grand Female Protective Society Lodge # 1, and Greater Fort Clark Missionary Baptist Church.
Gloria brought her bright smile and keen humor, her most reliable sense of commitment, her lioness-like courage, her innovative creativity, and her unwavering perfectionism to all she did, as a home-maker, care-taker, garden-creator, community server, patron of the arts, mother-mentor, and compassionate friend.
Gloria was pre-deceased by her mother, Shirley Mae Gilmore and stepfather, Charlie Gilmore, Jr. and countless other relatives and friends who were instrumental to her life.
She is survived by her husband, Dr. Joe Clark; brothers, Willis McKoy and Johnnie (Mary) McKoy; daughters Cheryl E. Norman, Victoria D. Norman Brown, and Judith I. Norman; stepchildren Joetta (Ronald) Clark Diggs, Joe (Jearl) Clark Jr., Hazel (Shane) Clark Mac; and grandchildren Umar Alim, Carla, Jasmine, and Jason Lee, Satchel and Cole Brown, Joe Clark, III, Jonetta Diggs, and Hazel Mac. All who knew her were loved and prayed for by her and will miss her. Gloria passed happily at home on April 3, 2019.
A celebration of Gloria’s life will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019 beginning with a wake at 10:30 a.m. and funeral services at 12 noon at Williams Thomas Funeral Home, 823 NW 143rd Street, Newberry, Fl 32669. Those who so desire may make donations in memory of Gloria to Female Protective Lodge #1 or Greater Fort Clarke Missionary Baptist Church. Visit the Gloria Clark tribute page at https://www.williamsthomasfuneralhome.com/m/obituaries/Gloria-Clark-8/Memories.