Saturday, May 23, 2009

Charlotte Cheever Cushwa Clark (1917-2009)

Charlotte Cheever Cushwa Clark, 91, of Harwich Port, Mass., an accomplished artist in watercolor, oil, pastel and lithograph prints; mother of six, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of five; died of heart failure, in East Harwich, Mass., May 21.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, the Rev. Bayard S. Clark, who died in 1994.

She is survived by her brother, William T. Cushwa of Agawam, Mass., and her six children and their spouses, Mr. & Mrs. Tom F. and Katharine C. Lord of Houston, Texas; W. Tucker Clark of Westport, Conn.; Mr. & Mrs. B. Stockton Clark Jr. of Hamden, Conn.; Mr. & Mrs. Franklin Taylor Clark of Washington, D.C.; G. Rockwood Clark and Mary Larkin of Harwich, Mass.; and Mr. & Mrs. N. Brooks Clark of Knoxville, Tenn.

She had 14 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Charlotte Cheever Cushwa was born Sept. 5, 1917, in Exeter, N.H. Her father, Frank W. Cushwa, was the Odlin Professor of English at the Phillips Exeter Academy and the author of An Introduction to Conrad (1933) and, with Robert N. Cunningham, Ways of Thinking and Writing (1936).

Her mother, Elizabeth Tucker Cushwa, was a daughter of Dr. William Jewett Tucker, president of Dartmouth College from 1893 to 1909.

Her great grandfather the Rev. Henry T. Cheever of Worcester, Mass., was mentioned and quoted in Moby-Dick as author of the 1849 book The Whale and His Captors. Cheever had journeyed to the South Seas as a missionary in 1840 and written several books about his experiences.

Charlotte graduated from Smith College in 1940, where she majored in painting. She was married to Bayard S. Clark of Philadelphia on June 21, 1941, in Cambridge, Mass.

Their first child, Katharine Conger Clark, was born in Philadelphia Dec. 15, 1942.

Bayard graduated from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1945. His first assignment was to St. Louis, Mo. Over the next two decades, while rearing a growing family, Charlotte was a rector’s wife in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Houston, Tex., Nashville, Tenn., and then Washington, D.C., where Rev. Clark served as a canon at the National Cathedral from 1960 to ’65.

She and Bayard first heard Martin Luther King speak in 1957 at Scarritt College in Nashville, shortly after the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, of which Bayard had attended the first convention, in Montgomery, Ala. In 1960, Bayard introduced Dr. King to a meeting of the Nashville Ministerial Association. He was present at the Lincoln Memorial for the “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 and marched in Selma in 1965. Charlotte heard the last Sunday sermon of Dr. King’s life, at the Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968.

Between 1962 and 1970, Charlotte earned her MFA in Painting and the History of Art from American University. In the years thereafter she was a member of and took part in shows with numerous art groups, including the Watercolor Society, the Art Barn, the Art League of Washington, and the Washington Printmakers. She also taught art at John Eaton School and the YWCA, and Art History at the National School of Ballet of Washington.

In 1991, Charlotte and Bayard Clark became year-round residents of Harwich Port, Mass., where Charlotte had spent summers since 1928.

In the 15 years since Bayard’s death, Charlotte had enjoyed keeping up with the births, graduations, and weddings among her extended family and remarkable circle of friends.

She was a member of the Garden Club of Harwich, the Guild of Harwich Artists, the Printmakers of Cape Cod, and a the Chatham Newcomers Club.

She was a loyal member of Christ Church Episcopal, Harwich Port, where she attended services just weeks before her death and where her funeral was held on Sunday, May 24.

No comments: