Olivia was born in Horton, Kansas to parents Joseph and Henrietta on April 18th 1930. Loving and caring sister of eleven brothers; Henry, George, William, Ruben, Louis, Michael, Peter, Charles, Robert, Frank, and Joseph, as well as three sisters; Aurora, Mary, and Margaret. Growing up in such a large and devoted Catholic household formed her intense faith and love for her family.
Olivia’s parents were both hard working people. Her father worked at the Griffon Wheel Company, providing for the family, while her mother took care of the many children and the household. Their experiences taught Olivia and her siblings about discipline, respect, and sympathy.
As a child, Olivia enjoyed many family activities. Whether it was playing hide and seek with siblings and neighbors, having a family picnic at the park, cooking tamales with her mom, or just gathering together at the dinner table every night, she always relished in connections with those close to her.
As a young woman, Olivia began working at Webb Publishing as a book binder. That is where she meets Ron Clarke. He was working as a press operator and began accompanying her on the train, chatting about life, and began courting each other. Ron walked Olivia home everyday before taking the train back to his home. They dated for six months, fell in love and got married shortly after. After getting married Ron and Olivia moved into their first home on Preble, starting their new life together. They had six wonderful children; Roxanne, Dean, Sandy, Mary, Kim and Lisa.
Mirroring Olivia’s own childhood, her children were taught the same love for life, family and faith. Her love for cooking joined everybody together for each meal. Olivia and her children would even cook up tacos and sell them to the local corner bar. She took care of not only her own children, but also children in the neighborhood by having her own daycare. She was a loving mother to the entire community.
Olivia faced many challenges and hardships throughout the years, losing two of her children to cancer then her loving husband of 61 years. She never gave up, she continued to help strengthen her family.
Over the course of many years, she has delightfully became a grandmother to 14 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and even 1 great great grandson. With such a large family, each gathering was a great event. Many traditions and activities arose from these gatherings.
Serving spaghetti on Christmas, cooking tamales and bunuelos on New Year's day, rolling tortillas by the dozens, and hosting large parties at her house nearly every holiday were just some of the many things that celebrated Olivia’s life and her family. She made every single person she came into contact with feel like family. She would call each child and grandchild for their birthdays and special occasions. She loved playing bingo with everyone she could, and was always lucky. Going to the Casino with her dear friend Sandy.
No matter what someone was dealing with in life, the moment you stepped foot into Olivia’s house it all melted away. In short, her presence radiated joy and happiness.
Thankful for all the memories, Ollie will forever be in our hearts.
May she rest in Heaven being surrounded by all her loved ones while holding hands with her loving husband.
Obituary as published in Pioneer Press- Sunday, April 30, 2023:
Age 93 of St. Paul
Passed away on April 27, 2023, surrounded by and in the care of her loving family. Preceded in death by husband Ron; children Dean & Sandy; son-in-law Mike Sullivan; brothers & sisters. Survived by children Roxanne Ukes, Mary Lange (Mark), Kim Sullivan & Lisa Lipinski (Dan); daughter-in-law Mercedes Clarke; 14 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren; 1 great great grandson; brothers Louis, Peter, Frank & Joe; dear friend Sandy Abernathy and many relatives & friends. Mass of Christian Burial Friday, May 5, 2023 at 10:30 am, CHURCH OF ST. PASCAL BAYLON, 1757 Conway Street, St. Paul. Interment Union Cemetery, Maplewood. Visitation Thursday, May 4th from 4:00-7:00pm at MUELLER MEMORIAL, 835 Johnson Parkway and one hour before the Mass at church on Friday.