PORTLAND — Dorothy Clark’s daughters say she was the “perfect” mother.

“She was very resourceful,” said her daughter, Deborah Gray.

When the family learned of the decommissioning of the City of Portland III, the fireboat that Gray christened back in 1959, Mrs. Clark called the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram to find out if she could get a memento for her daughter.

As the message got passed through to the Portland Fire Department, her contact information got lost. An article searching for Clark and her daughter ran in the Press Herald on Feb. 2.

When Mrs. Clark contacted the department to say she was the one who had made the request, she was told that a memorial plaque had been made for her daughter from the old fireboat’s glass barometer.

In an article published Feb. 3, Nicole Clegg, the city’s public information officer, said Mrs. Clark was “tickled” to hear the news.

Mrs. Clark died Wednesday after a few weeks in the care of Gosnell Memorial Hospice House. She was 91.

She lived most of her life in the house that she bought with her husband in Portland in the 1950s.

Her husband died when their youngest daughter, Suellen Clark, was just 12 years old.

“She was a single parent for much of my sister’s life,” Gray said, describing her as warm, generous and kind, and always acting with class.

“Mom and I did a lot of things together,” Suellen Clark said of the time after her father’s death.

Every June, when the school year ended, the mother-daughter duo would take off to Bermuda. The refined, English colonial island was one of Mrs. Clark’s favorite places to visit. They enjoyed the beach and the shops, with the crystal and linens from England, her daughter said.

Both daughters remember the lazy days they spent with their mother on the beach. They spent their summers living at a cottage in Ocean Park, and Gray said they would stay on the beach all day.

When their father was alive, Suellen Clark said, he would come home after work and ask, “Well, what did my girls do but loll on the beach all day?”

With a very close group of friends she met through the Woman’s Literary Union, Mrs. Clark kept herself busy. She volunteered on the board of the Victoria Mansion Society, and was an active member of the State Street Congregational Church in the Afternoon Guild.

The group of ladies had regular afternoons when they met at each other’s houses to play bridge.

“My sister and I, we would both love coming home from school knowing it was a bridge day,” Suellen Clark said, because they liked socializing with the ladies, who adored them.


Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]


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