Fayth Clark celebrates her 100th birthday in August
By Bob McDonnell
Fayth Clark is about to turn 100. She was born Martha Fayth Marie Lechner on Aug. 11, 1917, in Chicago, Ill. A few months before her birth, the president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, asked Congress to declare war on Germany. That would be World War I.
Commenting on her middle name — which she goes by — Clark said, “The doctor told my mother that she would never have any children, but she had faith that she would.” The keen-minded senior citizen has no idea why her mother spelled the name the way she did.
When she was around 8 years old, her family got their first car. It was a Model T Ford. Clark did not drive until she was an adult, and stopped driving at age 90.
Clark graduated from high school in 1935, the same year J. Edgar Hoover became director of the just-formed Federal Bureau of Investigation.
After graduation, Clark attended Moody Bible Institute in her home town. She did general Bible studies in the evening and, along the way, she met her future husband. The couple was married in 1938.
Her husband became a Baptist pastor, and Clark took on the role of a pastor’s wife. She played piano at church and led Bible studies, Sunday school, and vacation Bible school in the summers. “We had a wonderful time together,” she remembers.
Their first church assignment was in Graymont, Ill. The town’s population was only 125, but people of the surrounding area came to their small church.
The couple’s church work took them to Illinois, Arizona and Iowa, with the church in Phoenix being in their home.
Clark has many fond memories of those days and the congregations served. “The people in our churches were always so good to us. They kept us supplied with food,” Clark said. “They treated us like their kids,” she recalls.
After Clark’s husband passed away, Clark moved to Berthoud in 1995 with her daughter, Wendy Melendez, who is one of her four children.
Clark remembers many of our country’s presidents; including Eisenhower, Truman and Roosevelt. She has memories of hearing FDR talk on the radio. The family did not own a television set until about 1958 or 1959.
As a teenager Clark remembers the Great Depression. She saw people standing in line to receive food. “Dad never missed a day of work all during the Depression,” she said proudly. His occupation was that of a printer. She says he had a printing press at home as well as one at work.
The soon-to-be centenarian works at keeping her mind active. She does word searches and crossword puzzles and has a reputation as quite a Scrabble player. She also does adult coloring books. About three years ago, while attending Stepping Stones Adult Day Care in Loveland, Clark started writing a book about her life. “It’s still unfinished,” Wendy, said.
The talented lady has also written a couple of songs. She is practicing her piano-playing so she can sing at her 100th birthday party. A grandson is composing a song for the occasion as well.
Plans are shaping up for her birthday party in August, but Clark has already started partying. On May 19 she and eight others were recognized in Greeley at a Celebrating a Lifetime event hosted by the Colorado Commission on Aging.
Clark does not wait to be asked how one gets to be 100 years old. Unsolicited, the sharp lady said “They asked me why I lived so long. I told them it was because I was walking hand-in-hand with Jesus.” Even at that, Clark shook her head and said, “One hundred years — I can’t believe it.”
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