Meet the June residents of the month, Charles and Shirley Clark.
Shirley was born in Kansas City, Mo., and grew up in St. Louis. After graduating from Harris Teachers College, she taught third grade for two years before she became the Baptist Student Union Secretary for the city of St. Louis. Charles was born in Alexandria, La., but moved often as his father was a pastor and a chaplain. Charles typically lived in a place six months at a time from age 12 to 17.
Charles and Shirley met one summer when they were both working at Ridgecrest, a Southern Baptist Conference Center near Ashville, N.C. When Charles invited Shirley to his graduation from Mercer
University, he proposed. They were married a year later. Charles went to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, but interrupted doctoral studies when he felt called to do mission work.
They were appointed missionaries in 1951 and headed to Costa Rica with their two young daughters, Shirley and Judy, to study Spanish for a year. Their son, Charles, was born there before the family moved to Venezuela in 1952.
Charles (senior) was a “church planter,” preaching the gospel and helping small churches in neighboring areas. Shirley worked alongside Charles in all aspects. They began an English-speaking church and she taught English to students. Their fourth child, John, was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. They spent a four-year term in Venezuela and then a one-year term in the United States, sharing what had happened during the time in Venezuela. In 1969, Charles was asked to teach at a new seminary near Caracas, so he returned to seminary to complete his doctorate degree. During his last four-year term, he became president of the Baptist Theological Seminary of Venezuela.
In 1989, Charles and Shirley left the field after 38 years and moved to Friendswood, Texas, for 16 years and then Boerne, Texas, for nine years. They returned to Venezuela, as well as Bolivia, several times as volunteer missionaries. They say it brings them a lot of joy to see their work being carried on with such passion. In retirement, they’ve visited their children when they lived and worked abroad in the Philippines, Paris, Chile, Uruguay and Singapore.
Their daughter, Shirley, is now a psychiatrist in North Carolina; Judy did mission work and is a public health nurse in Houston; and their son, Charles, worked for Occidental for 30 years before doing mission work. He is now on the International Mission Board for Southern Baptist Churches in Richmond, Va. John is a teacher and coach in Colorado. They also feel blessed to have 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Charles and Shirley moved to Parkway Place in February 2014. They like everything about their new home, especially meeting new people every night in the dining room. They have met so many interesting people and appreciate how friendly and welcoming everyone has been. They enjoy attending various programs and Sunday Vesper Services and look forward to using the Wellness Center.
Get uplifting stories of how Buckner is shining hope in the U.S. and around the world!