Mary Helene Andersen Clark was born January 29, 1910 in Chicago, IL according to her death certificate. Her father was Arthur Olaf Andersen, musician; her mother, Mary Storrs. At some point, the Andersen family moved from Chicago to Peoria.
Horace Clark, Mary’s husband, was born in Peoria, IL. His father was the Vice President of a local bank. His family was prominent in Peoria (they had a live-in maid). He studied at Duke University, Durham, NC from 1929-1931. He then transferred to the Designer’s Art School in Boston, MA from 1931-1932. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago from 1932-1933. While at the Art Institute, he developed a relationship with Mary Helene Andersen, another art student. He married this long-time family friend, Mary, in 1934. They had three children during their long marriage.
In 1941, both of the Clarks joined the Art School faculty at the University of Arizona. During the war, Horace worked for three years at the Davis-Monthan Air Base. After the war, Horace completed his BFA degree at Arizona in 1946. In that same year, he accepted a teaching job at Syracuse University, School of Art where he taught for 29 years until he retired in 1975.
Horace suffered a stroke in 1972. Since he was right-handed, he learned how to paint with his left hand with his wife’s help. Both of the Clarks liked to play tennis and continued to do so even after his stroke. Apparently Mary liked to read aloud to Horace in the evenings. He sometimes used her readings as inspiration for his paintings. They lived for many years in the first house they purchased in Syracuse at the “oldest wooden house in the Valley,” 5570 S. Salina, where they shared a studio in the back of the house. Mary made the house her own by carving a woman’s figure in the support beam in the diningroom.
Mary considered her greatest works to be “Peace” and “Harvest” which were installed in 1939 at the entrance of the Peoria Tuberculosis Sanitarium. In 1976, both statues were removed, restored, and reinstalled in the Peoria County Courthouse Plaza, Jefferson and Hamilton Streets, Peoria. Mary also did the four statues at Haven Middle School, Evanston, IL. According to AAA records, there was an additional statue Mary created, “Jill,” which was rejected by the Evanston School Board due to being “age inappropriate” for a Junior High School. Mary also did statues entitled “Tom Sawyer” (for the Aurora School District) and “Alice” (a 6 foot cast stone statue), both of which were considered lost by 1976.
Mary Clark died on May 22, 1994 at 3:53 pm. Cause of death was a tumor obstructing her bile duct. Her occupation at time of death was listed on her death certificate as “homemaker.” Her residence was 141 Cattaraugus Street, Springville, NY. She owned this home with her husband, Horace, who survived her until his death approximately a year later on August 28, 1995. Mary Anderson Clark was buried on May 25, 1994 in the Maplewood Cemetery, Springville, NY.