1915 ~ 2014
In her quiet, dignified, and determined way, Jennie Louise Pitts Hartley Clark, age 98, passed away at home Friday, February 28, surrounded by her loving family. Louise was born August 10, 1915, in Payson, Ariz., the second of six children, to Houston Rutledge Pitts and Jennie Belle Traylor Pitts.
Louise's father's family was from Tennessee via the pre-Revolutionary Carolinas. When her grandfather died, her grandmother, in 1884, packed the large family into a wagon and trekked to Texas to join family there. Her mother's parents were French (New Orleans) and Scottish (Texas) immigrants. Her father was a cowboy with a third-grade education and her mother, younger and better educated, was charmed by his dancing abilities. Together they moved to a remote valley in Arizona to ranch and start a family.
Louise loved growing up in Arizona, always telling her children and grandchildren stories about the desert, Indians, and the heat. Just prior to the Great Depression, the family moved to Medford, Ore. in hopes of a better life financially. There, as a teenager, Louise worked as a fruit-packer for the Harry and David Company, among other jobs.
Louise's first marriage to Frank Clark produced a daughter, Constance Louise, and ended in divorce. Her second marriage to Jack Martin Hartley ended in 1958 with his premature death from a heart attack.Tthey had two children, Brenda Kay and Brent Robert. A third marriage ended in divorce.
Louise moved back to her beloved Arizona in 1988, living in Apache Junction before remarrying her first husband, Frank Clark, in 2000 and moving with him to Sacramento, Calif. Their re-marriage was happy but short-lived. He passed away in 2001 and their daughter, Connie, passed away in 2002.
In 2004, Louise moved east to Pittsfield, Mass. to be near her daughter, Brenda, with whom she resided for the past seven years.
Louise was a renowned cook, an excellent bridge player, loved to travel to visit family in exotic places, and, until a motor vehicle accident in 2006, enjoyed practicing yoga. Her family attributes some of her longevity to the medicinal effect of her nightly measure of organic red wine with dinner.
She is survived by her daughter, Brenda Hartley Landes (Fred) of Pittsfield, Mass.; her son, Brent Robert Hartley (Elizabeth Dickinson) of Bethesda, Md.; her step-son, Michael Lynn Hartley of Medford, Ore.; her son-in-law, H. Lawrence Lister, Jr. of Norfolk, Va.; her grandchildren, Michael, Joshua, and Samuel Landes, Eleanor and Charles Hartley, and Cheryl Lister (Marin Cabac); and great-grandchildren, Sofia and Michelle, and Angela and Robert Hartley; and Meka, the Wonder Dog.
She was predeceased by her husbands, Frank and Jack; her daughter, Connie; her granddaughter, Jennifer Louise Lister; and her five siblings.
Funeral services were private. Louise will be buried in her beloved Arizona, near her youngest brother. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the charity of
the donor's choice.