Shirley Clark, age 96, passed away December 29, 2019.
She was born on January 17, 1923, to the late Roy and Pearl (Lindsey) Zobel, at the Rocky Mt. Hospital in Denver, Colo. Shirley Clark has always been a part of the animal world and because of her commitment, she was awarded a lifetime honorary membership into the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association. She was honored for her work in developing and enhancing the women's auxiliary over the years. Until the 1960s, Shirley said the auxiliary was just women gathering to have tea. During that decade, the group got organized and installed its first officers. Shirley started bringing a card table to the convention and offered items for sale. The items ranged from popcorn and fudge to canned peaches and embroidered crafts.
In 1979, Shirley started the service dog project called Canines for Companion. The purpose of the project is to place puppies in foster homes and have them trained to assist people with disabilities.
In 1999, she received the Presidential Award at the national conference in New Orleans, La. In 1997, she received the distinguished service award from the CVMA. Shirley was only the fourth non-veterinarian to receive the award. She was awarded the CVMA auxiliary service award in 1998 and she was named the auxiliary's woman of the year for years 1979 to 1980. For Shirley, working with animals was never in her future plans until she met her husband, Sterling Clark. Then, it became a team effort. For 30 years, Sterling had a large animal practice and Shirley assisted with many duties. In 1965, Sterling and Shirley opened a small animal hospital in Rocky Ford, Colo., and Shirley assisted there for many years.
Sterling and Shirley had been in a bridge club since 1952. They elk and deer hunted on horseback every year. They also fly fished. She was a charter member of Young Mothers Club and belonged to Women's Club. She was a Sunday school teacher in the Christian Church, president of PTA, Boy Scout Den Mother for her 2 boys and 3 other boys, Rainbow Mothers Club President and DeMolay Mothers Club President for 5 terms. She was also a member of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Assoc. Auxiliary since the 1940s and held all offices. Shirley was Woman of the Year in 1959 and was a delegate from the CVMA to the American Veterinary Medical Assoc. for 13 years.
She was Sister State Chairman of the AVMA for 4 years and Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee for 4 years. It was there that Shirley proposed National Pet Week in 1972. This idea was adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Assoc. Auxiliary, the American Veterinary Medical Assoc., and the American Animal Hospital Assoc. and had made a lot of money, approximately $600,000. In 1972, she proposed the Service Dog Project to the Colorado Veterinary Medical Assoc. Auxiliary. They had done great things with the project. They gave12 Hearing Dogs and 8 other Service Dogs to people in need of their services, at a cost of $10,000 each. Shirley resigned from the service Dog Project in 2001. The annual auction that she started to raise the money for the dogs has been named "The Shirley Clark Project Auction". It is held every September at the Annual Convention of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Assoc. meeting.
In 1999 in New Orleans, La., at the National American Veterinary Medical Assoc. meeting, Shirley was awarded the Presidential Award for the instigation of National Pet Week, which she declared to be the first week in May. This was only the second time this award had been given. In September of 2000, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Assoc. made her a Lifetime Honorary Member. They joined the Fowler Lutheran Church in 1990. She was active in the Miriam Circle, a bible study class. In 1997, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Assoc. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi for 22 years. She had held all offices. Shirley was nominated Woman of the Year twice. This raised money for 2 college scholarships given at the Fowler High School graduation every year. Sterling and Shirley have been Republican Delegates for 25 years. In 2002, Shirley was awarded the Award of Excellence by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Assoc. Auxiliary.
In addition to her parents, Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Sterling; sons, Stanley and Sidney Clark; brother, Robert Zobel.
She is survived by her daughter, Sharlene Pekny; grandsons, Justin Pekny (Melisia) and Darren Pekny (Dani); 4 great-grandchildren, Reese, Cole, Jackson and Shepard.
A celebration of her Life is Saturday, January 4, 2020, at 2 p.m., at the Hoy-Kilnoski Funeral Home. Interment is in Fowler Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the Midlands Humane Society.