Obituary of JoBeth Gale Clark
JoBeth Gale Clark passed away on October 20, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, her home-away-from-home (Centennial, Colorado) and one of her favorite places to be. She was surrounded by family after a courageous battle with cancer.
JoBeth was born on May 6, 1963, in Rock Island, Illinois to doting parents James V. “Jim” and Jesalyn “Jay” Gale, and an older brother, James “Jim” Gale. At the age of 6, she moved with her family to West Des Moines, Iowa. The Gale family returned to Moline, Illinois in August 1974, and JoBeth graduated from Moline High School in 1981. She then headed to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, where she studied education. In college, she rushed Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and studied abroad in Europe, a highlight of her life. JoBeth frequented the Airliner and the Hamburg Inn No. 2 diner, likely another highlight of her life. She graduated in 1985 with a teaching degree, focusing on special education.
Right after graduation from the University of Iowa, she drove to Denver, Colorado with plans to never drive across Nebraska again under any circumstances. She began her esteemed teaching career at North Middle School in Aurora, Colorado, hired to teach special education, a challenging role. She later found out they only hired her because they thought her name was ‘Joe,’ as they believed only a male would be able to teach these students. But they were wrong, and JoBeth flourished, celebrating her first year-end success with an infamous field trip to purchase new jeans for her class. JoBeth’s career and love for kids grew at Aurora Public Schools for another 13 years. She taught in a variety of special education, gifted and talented, second grade, and third grade positions at Kenton Elementary (1986-1988), Crawford Elementary (1988-1991), and Iowa Elementary (1991-2000).
In 1990, JoBeth met Leofwin Clark through mutual friends, and on May 24,1992, they were married in Moline, Illinois. They moved to a charming blue house on South Rosemary Court in Willow Creek, a special neighborhood in Denver’s southern suburbs, now part of the City of Centennial. She welcomed a daughter, Paige, in 1993, and a son, Paul, in 1996. JoBeth and her family’s starter home on a quiet cul-de-sac quickly transformed into an inexplicably magical journey of community, friendship, and kids – lots and lots of kids. For the 2000-01 school year, she transferred to Cherry Creek Schools to be a Kindergarten teacher at Willow Creek Elementary, right down the street from the Clark’s second house in Willow Creek on East Kettle Avenue. Twenty more years of classes and over 700 kindergarteners later, JoBeth retired from full time teaching at the end of the 2019 school year.
It turns out that JoBeth did need to drive across Nebraska many, many more times (as she would remind us often). These long drives underscored her love of family in the Quad Cities, then for her children as they both attended college in Iowa, and finally for a “retirement” loft in downtown Minneapolis. Her second home in Minneapolis just happened to be a short drive from Paige and her husband Erik, and from her grandson, the light of her life, August “Gus” James Anderson, born on July 25, 2022.
In addition to her own children and hundreds of former students and their families, JoBeth’s passions included golfing, occasional knitting, her PEO chapter, Addi (her Granddog), family ski trips, hiking with her former colleagues and dad, a laugh with her friends Marie and Buffy, a game (or three) of hearts or Phase 10, walking the many paths of Denver and the Highline Canal, being a hospice volunteer, teaching kids to read, watching the Broncos during a snowstorm, breakfast at Sam’s No. 3, wearing funky shoes, hosting an annual 4th of July parade party, being a mentor to new teachers, an occasional shot-ski, early morning Safeway runs, a cold McDonald’s fountain Diet Coke, and anything that involved playing with a 5-year-old or holding a baby. She never forgot to send a birthday card, gave incredible hugs, and somehow made everything a little more fun with her dry sense of humor. When her friends or family were in need, she never asked what she could do – she always knew exactly what to do.
JoBeth is survived by her husband, Leofwin Clark; children, Paige (Erik) Anderson and Paul Clark; grandson, August Anderson; father, James V. Gale (Jeanne); brother, James H. Gale; as well as the Nordstrom family, Michael (Kimberly) Nordstrom, Daniel (Lynn) Nordstrom, and their children and grandchildren, whom JoBeth treated as her own. She is also survived by her in-laws Kenneth (Fatijah) Clark, Matthew Clark, and their children (and grandchildren), nieces and nephews and their families that she adored.
She is preceded in death by her mother, Jesalyn Gale; and her eldest brother, James V. Gale, Jr.
In lieu of flowers, JoBeth wanted to support the Willow Creek Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and give to the community there who share her love for the kids. You can contribute to the Willow Creek Elementary PTO in any of these three ways:
• On-line, via this link:
• Via a check through the mail:
Willow Creek Elementary ATTN: PTO
7855 S Willow Way Centennial, CO 80112
(make checks payable to Willow Creek PTO)
Drop off a check at the above school address
(make checks payable to Willow Creek PTO)
A service will be held on November 4th at 11am at Bethany Lutheran Church with a lunch reception to follow.
Bethany Lutheran Church
4500 E Hampden Ave
Cherry Hills Village, CO 80113To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of JoBeth Clark, please visit Tribute Store