Gladys Ronning Clark

Gladys Ronning Clark passed away peacefully on June 16, 2014 at the age of 98 surrounded by family. She was born on April 28, 1916, in her family’s homestead cabin in Rock Springs, Mont. After graduating from Custer County High School in 1933, she obtained a provisional teaching certificate and began her 40-year teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse on Crow Rock Sheep Ranch in 1934.

She met Amos Clark in Miles City the same year when they were both 18, and they were married in Lewistown on Oct. 16, 1937, a union that lasted 67 years. Soon after marrying they moved to Culver City, Calif., to join the fledgling aircraft industry, and their son John was born there in 1944. Gladys and Amos became charter members of Grace Lutheran Church and Gladys was selected to teach at an exclusive private school in Beverly Hills, where during a Christmas pageant Art Linkleter and Red Skelton ad-libbed in the audience prior to the child performance.

Missing the small town community feel, they moved back to Montana, relocating to Red Lodge, in 1954. At first, Gladys taught multiple grades and subjects in a two-room school house in Fox, and later in Red Lodge she most enjoyed teaching the 4th grade. She taught Sunday school and served on the council of the Messiah Lutheran Church, and was a member of the Red Lodge Festival of Nations, chairing the Scandinavian group. Gladys loved people, compassionately taking care of several temporarily-adopted kids and family members throughout her years in Red Lodge, and delighting in conversations with tourists and locals while operating the Clark Guest House and coffee shop. An avid reader and budding writer, she was known to fight off the occasional bear intruder and would walk at least a mile a day well into her 90s.

Gladys returned to Miles City to be among her siblings, nieces and nephews in 2013 and celebrated her 98th birthday there at Friendship Villa. She is survived by her son John (Nani) Clark; her grandchildren Jeff, Will, Shinta (Rob) Daniels, and Angie; her great-grandchildren Isis Clark and Kaleb and Lily Daniels; her brother Warren (Elizabeth) Ronning, sister Dorothy Bakken and sister-in-law Kate Ronning; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins on both the Clark and Ronning sides of her family. There was a service celebrating her life held at Friendship Villa in Miles City at 2 p.m. on June 24 and at Messiah Lutheran Church in Red Lodge at 2 p.m. on June 27.

Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers please make a donation in her name to your favored charity.