Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Linda Urbach (1940-2014)

Here is a tribute to my beloved sister-in-law Linda: 
Charlotte Spring Clark and her Mom, Linda

Linda Urbach; ad copywriter, novelist, humorist, playwright and screenwriter; after a long bout with cancer; on July 14, 2014, in New Haven, Conn.
     Linda Spring Urbach was born December 6, 1940, to Charles "Duke" and Pearle Spring Urbach in Los Angeles, Calif. She grew up in Denver, Colo., and Chicago, Ill.
      After graduating from the University of Colorado in 1962, Linda taught English for a year at the Berlitz school in Paris, then moved to New York City and began a successful career as an advertising copywriter, very much in the world depicted in Mad Men. She wrote the classic line, "My girdle is killing me," for Playtex at Young & Rubicam, for which she won a Clio Award.
     Linda’s marriage to Howard T. Howard, former first horn for the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, ended in divorce.  
     Linda met her second husband, Tucker Clark, on Labor Day weekend 1975 at a 50s night at the Sand Bar in Westhampton, N.Y., where they danced all night. 
     Her memorable introduction to Tucker’s family came over Memorial Day weekend 1976 in Harwich Port, Mass., when she scraped, sanded and varnished the wood on a Boston Whaler and met many of Tucker’s five siblings, each one bearing a Waspier name than the next (Kathy, Stocky, Rocky, F.T. and Brooksie). As she recounted in a storytelling workshop, Linda found the Cheever-esque whirlwind of the Clark family irresistible. The feeling was mutual.
     Linda and Tucker were married on June 28, 1980, on the beach in Harwich Port by her father-in-law, the Rev. Bayard S. Clark, and she became an essential, beloved and treasured member of the large extended family. Among Linda’s many contributions to the life and spirit of the Clark family were her toasts and eulogies. Skillfully deploying her loving, razor-sharp wit, she enhanced family occasions with words of humor, eloquence and affection.
    In 1980 Linda, under the nom de plume Linda U. Howard, published her first novel, Expecting Miracles, a humorous look at the oft-heartbreaking pursuit of motherhood. It was optioned for a movie (never made) by producer Burt Sugarman on behalf of the actress Jill Clayburgh, and Linda followed up two years later with The Money Honey, inspired by the option money's hilarious effects on her household.
     The miracle Linda was expecting, Charlotte Spring Clark, was born on August 16, 1983. “The joy of Charlotte continues to this day,” she said. “She is what I am proudest of in life.” Charlotte is one of 13 first cousins who, along with their spouses and children, consider themselves as close as siblings and completely devoted to their Auntie Linda. That feeling, too, was mutual.
    In 1991, Linda and Tucker moved to Westport, Conn.
    Her one-act play Scenes from a Cell was a finalist in the 2002 New England One Act Festival. Her play MoMoirs -The Umbilical Cord Stops Here!, reminiscences of her daughter, premiered at the Zipper Theater in New York and has been performed by members of the Theatre Artists Workshop and extensively throughout New York and Connecticut. 
     She created and facilitated the website MoMoirs, Writing Workshops For & About Moms, which resulted in the anthology, MoMoirs: I'll give you something to cry about, self-published in 2013.  Even though she was already very ill, Linda joined the three other authors in several celebratory readings around Connecticut, in the weeks before Mother's Day, 2014.

      Linda also used her skills to lead a twice-monthly writing class at the Trumbull Library for many years, where she inspired and nurtured several aspiring writers to love the craft as well as her unique spirit.
     Linda co-wrote, with her longtime friend Roberto Mitrotti, the screenplay for Stealing Chanel, which is scheduled for release in 2015. Their screenplay for The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud was produced by 20th Century Fox Specialized Film Division and starred Bud Cort, Carole Kane, Klaus Kinski and Marisa Berenson.
     In 2011, as Linda Howard Urbach, Linda published Madame Bovary's Daughter, her novelistic answer to the question, whatever happened to the only daughter of the scandalous Madame Bovary, literature’s greatest adulteress and worst mother? 
     Linda also has a personal Blog, and her writings have been featured in The Huffington Post.
    She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Jerry Urbach. Linda is survived by her daughter, Charlotte Spring Clark, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Charlotte’s beloved cousins and cousins-in-law; her ex-husband W. Tucker Clark of Westport, Conn., and their siblings Tom and Katharine Lord of Houston, Texas; Judy and Bayard Stockton (Stocky) Clark Jr. of Hamden, Conn.; George Rockwood (Rocky) Clark and Mary Larkin of Harwich, Mass.; Franklin T. (F.T.) Clark and Janet Dinsmore of Washington, D.C.; and Brooks and Karen Clark of Knoxville, Tenn.; and her many cherished friends and readers.


Connie Dittrich said...

Thank you for this lovely tribute to my wonderful friend and rowing buddy. (Typing through tears.)

Beth Seibel-Hunt said...

Thank you Brooks. You've captured the essence!!!

Beth S- Hunt, extended family

Jacquie Scarbrough said...

Thank you, Brooks. We are heart-broken and will miss her so much.

Doreen Birdsell said...

Linda made an indelible mark the moment I met her in Westport in 1993 and almost every meeting thereafter - I grew to anticipate being entertained in some unexpected way every time -- One can only smile at the thought of her ... I look forward to our meeting again one day on the other side of all tomorrows ...
Doreen B - a friend

Judy Clark said...

Thanks Brooks. THis is perfect....

Judy Clark said...

Thanks Brooks. THis is perfect....