Dorothy Elizabeth Lawhon Clark
September 30, 1926 - November 16, 2018
Surrounded by her beloved family, Dorothy Clark, 92, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 16, 2018. Services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, December 8, at Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. Dr. M. Vernon Davis and the Reverend Dorisanne Cooper will be officiating. Dorothy was born in Avon Park, Florida, a town nestled among orange groves, pastures, and twenty-seven lakes. She was one of four children reared lovingly by Sarah Miriam and Raleigh Henry Lawhon. From a very young age, Dorothy was an athlete, scholar, and musician. She played basketball, cheered for the Avon Park Red Devils, was devoted to her studies, and passionately played the piano.
In 1944, she graduated from Avon Park High School and entered Mars Hill Jr. College in the mountains of North Carolina. In 1949, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University School of Nursing. In that same year, she went to Europe to attend the Baptist World Youth Congress. Dorothy's desire to practice her faith, education, and nursing skills were grounded in the Great Commission of Christ that extends the good news of God's love throughout the world. In 1949, she returned to Avon Park and in the following year, married Gene Austin Clark, her childhood sweetheart. They returned to Waco where Gene, a World War II navy veteran in the Pacific, attended Baylor University and graduated with a BA in History in 1953. (He later went on to earn his MA in History and pursue his doctorate.) That fall, they moved to Louisville, Kentucky to continue preparing for the mission field. Following Gene's graduation from Southern Theological Seminary, they were commissioned in 1956 as missionaries to Japan, where they served for over 25 years in Fukuoka and Tokyo. During their time in Japan, Dorothy and Gene became a part of people's lives. Through education and service, they demonstrated their understanding of the way of Christ that embraces all people with dignity and grace.
In addition to their mission work, they brought up all five of their children in Japan with an abiding love and affinity for the Japanese culture, language, and people. Dorothy and Gene traveled with their family throughout the islands of Japan, exposing them to ancient temples, shrines, castles and gardens. Each summer, they spent time together in the western mountains of Nojiri alongside third culture children and families from around the world. At Thanksgiving, they would often caravan with other missionary families to hot springs in Amagi for the annual Mission Meeting. They also celebrated holidays with home cooked meals and homespun music, welcoming single missionaries, Japanese students, as well as any neighbor who needed the comforts and joys of a home
.In 1981, at the age of 54, Dorothy returned to Waco following Gene's sudden death. It was in Waco that she and her 11 year old daughter, Anna, were welcomed into the fellowship of Calvary Baptist Church, and later into Seventh and James Baptist Church. These communities gave her the support needed to navigate through life as a single parent. Once again, Dorothy returned to her studies and became reinstated as a RN. This allowed her to gain employment at Hillcrest Hospital, and later at the Veterans Hospital where she cared for patients on the psychiatric ward. Throughout her years in Waco, she dedicated her life to assisting in children's ministries at Seventh and James, visiting the sick, teaching English to international students and families at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, and delivering meals to elderly and disabled adults through Meals on Wheels of Waco.
Dorothy's faith was also reflected in her actions as a grateful citizen of the United States. Dorothy proudly cast her vote at every election, voiced her opinion concerning human rights, and advocated for the equality and respect of everyone.
In the final years of Dorothy's life, she dedicated her time to her children and grandchildren who affectionately called her "Grandma", "Grandmama", and "Mumsie". She regularly reminisced about her never-ending love and devotion for Gene, gathered with friends at Kim's Diner, exercised with WRS buddies, and participated in worship, fellowship, and mission activities at both Seventh and James Baptist Church and Lake Shore Baptist Church. She lived a full and faithful life.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, Sarah Miriam and Raleigh Henry Lawhon; husband, Gene Austin Clark; son, David Raleigh Clark; brother, Charles Lawhon; and sister, Margaret Turnbull.
Dorothy's love for her family and friends was deep and wide and extended into their lives. She is survived by four daughters and their families: Sarah Miriam "Mimi" Gilbert of Grapevine, TX; Barbara "Barbie" Clark and Paul Slaughter of Fort Collins, CO; Mary Margaret "Magi" Davis and David Davis of Waco, TX; and Anna Clark Martinez and Phil Martinez of Waco, TX; seven grandchildren, Wilson Rains Slaughter, Hannah Kathryn Gilbert, Maya Magdalene Davis, August Clark Slaughter, Sarah Michelle Gilbert, Michael Andrew Clark Martinez, and Emma Olivia Clark Martinez; sister and brother-in-law, Barbara Wicker and Gerald Wicker of Avon Park, FL; her many nieces and nephews; and her countless friends.
Dorothy's entire family would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Linda Davis-Londos, Traci Kerby, the staff of Sodalis House, St. Catherine's Rehabilitation Center, and to Providence Hospice. Your compassionate care for our mother during her final years and in these transitional moments cleared her a gentle and kind road to her eternal home. Thank you from the deepest places within us."
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to CASA of McLennan County, Meals on Wheels, Providence Hospice, The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children, or to the charity of your choice.
Sign the online Guest Book at www.oakcrestwaco.com.