Ann-Marie Clark, 58

Ann-Marie Clark – wife, mother, dancer, poet, therapist, songstress, practitioner of yoga, woman of joy – departed this life on Dec. 30, 2009.
A resident of Thiensville, Ann-Marie was born in Sussex, England, on Dec. 11, 1951 to Winifred and Gordon Walker. She was raised in East Grinstead, just south of London, and attended an Episcopal boarding school. Upon graduation from Physio College she embarked on a life-long career in physical therapy.

Feeling a call to new adventure, she moved to Haiti for a year to share her therapy skills through relief work. Her next home was Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. Ann-Marie attended a yoga retreat in Michigan where she met Jim Clark of Milwaukee. They found each other to be of like mind, and were married a year later, on July 31, 1983.

Ann-Marie was active in her children’s lives. Joshua’s and Jessica’s educational path included Waldorf School, homeschooling, and public school. During her children’s homeschooling experience, Ann-Marie taught workshops on social justice issues with the local homeschooling group and became involved in projects with Jesse’s Girl Scout troop. The students always loved her presentations, as passion for the topic was moderated by Ann-Marie’s humor and sense of fun. She was proud of both of her children as they are pursuing higher education.

Employed by the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children, Ann-Marie was a gifted physical therapist with preschoolers. Outside of work she pursued her interests in the arts and the spiritual. She loved all forms of dance, including sacred, modern, African and free form. When she danced she was free, open and alive.

When she entered the hospice home, the employees of the home recognized her as she had danced for former residents of the hospice program. Ann-Marie hosted a song circle which met at her home monthly to sing peace-loving songs, singing for the simple joy of the experience. She became interested in Buddhism and had a deep spiritual practice.

Ann-Marie was trained as a Phoenix Rising Yoga therapist. She did yoga in various contexts, including with the disabled. A compassionate therapist, she was skilled at listening and guiding as she encouraged others. She also taught Laughter Yoga to encourage healing.

Ann-Marie wrote poetry. A perfect moment could be captured in her hammock alongside the Milwaukee River with a cup of tea and her writing pad. Ann-Marie recorded her journey through melanoma in a booklet of poems.

A teller of stories that lighten the heart, Ann-Marie brought joy and laughter to all she encountered. She will be sadly missed by Jim, Josh and Jessie. This weekend, Josh will marry Michele Olson of Cedarburg. Ann-Marie died 10 days before her son’s wedding. Her presence remains with all those whose lives she touched. Her character will live on in her children. Ann-Marie is also survived by her mother, Win Simmons, of England.

“If I have nothing else … I have this day … This day … That floats into my heart … On boats of green and gold … Washing up a smile ...”
— Ann-Marie Clark, August 2009

Visitation will be held today, Jan. 5, 2010, at Suminski Family Funeral Homes 1901 N. Farwell Ave ., Milwaukee, from 5 p.m. until the time of the memorial service at 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
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