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Frank and Jennie Clark Memorial Scholarship

Frank Clark was born Aug. 29, 1899, in Australia. He came to the United States with his family when he was 5 years old and they settled in Michigan.

As an adult, Frank heard about homesteading in Alaska. He came to Palmer in 1932 to work in the Matanuska Valley. Frank built the first frame house in Palmer (located behind Hartley Motors) from old Alaska Railroad box car lumber. The lumber was dark red and the house was known are “the little red house on the corner”. He applied for a homestead and in 1934 he received the patent for the 160-acre homestead at the foot of Lazy Mountain. In 1934 he returned to Michigan and married Jennie.

Jennie Clark was born May 15, 1899, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was raised by her Dutch parents in Holland, Michigan. After marrying Frank, she moved to Palmer with him in 1935 and lived in the frame house he built.

In 1936, they moved to their newly built log cabin on the homestead acreage and started farming the land. In about 1945, Frank used his skills as an accomplished carpenter to build a beautiful house on the homestead property.

During their long marriage, Frank and Jennie had two daughters, Mary Jane (1935- ) and Betty Jeanne (1938-2017). Both girls grew up in Palmer.

Jennie was a charter member of the United Protestant Church, the Sourdough Homemakers Club, Pioneers of Alaska, and was the first president of the Palmer Hospital Auxiliary.

Frank worked for the Matanuska Co-Op in charge of maintenance for about 40 years and served on its board. In addition to other things, he designed the Anchorage Dairy building.

Frank passed away Jan. 14, 1976, and is buried in the Palmer Pioneer Cemetery.

After Frank’s death, Jennie moved to Washington in 1976 and later to Oregon in 1977 to be near family. After she moved to Oregon, she became a member of the Alaska Club of the Willamette Valley.

Jennie Clark passed away April 22, 1998, in Salem, Oregon, just three weeks before her 99th birthday. She is buried with her beloved husband, Frank.

Courtesy of Mary Jane Phelps nee Clark.

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