October – July, August & September 2023
In Memory of Susan Lott Clark
Susan Lott Clark, 98, passed away peacefully at her home on May 2, following a long and productive life. She was preceded in death over 20 years ago by her husband, Dr. S. William Clark, Jr., a prominent ophthalmologist in Waycross. She was the mother of Dr. William Clark III and Dr. Jim Clark and daughter of the late Mr. & Mrs. Dan Lott, Sr., and was a descendant of two of the pioneer founding families of Waycross, Dr. & Mrs. Daniel Lott, and Mr. & Mrs. William Stacy Bailey.
Born January 12, 1925, in Waycross, Georgia, this remarkable lady stood squarely on the shoulders of those who came before her and made an incredible impact in local and state humanities and other activities since that time. She authored, co-authored, and published (with assistance in the latter from her husband) 5 hardback books and numerous other smaller paperback publications and made other positive contributions to her communities, as outlined below.
Sue attended public schools, graduating from Waycross High School in 1942. She earned the BA degree, cum laude, from Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia, in 1946 with a major in Spanish and also the MA degree in Spanish, from Emory University, Atlanta in 1950. Her formal education also included a post-graduate course in journalism and creative writing at the University of Georgia in Ath-ens. Interestingly, her mother and maternal grandmother were also college graduates, in the 1800s.
During her college years, she became one of the initial financial contributors to the local drive to create the Okefenokee Swamp Park during the 1945 campaign. She continued to be a loyal advocate for the swamp for the rest of her life.
After college graduation, she was employed as a field representative for Wesleyan College and later taught in the Fulton County School system.
On December 27, 1948, she and Dr. Spurgeon William Clark, Jr. were married in Waycross. They lived in Atlanta for the first seven years, where he completed the work for his medical degree and specialty training in ophthalmology at Emory and Grady Hospital.
They moved to Waycross in July of 1956 when he opened his private practice here. Both of them became active in church and community service projects.
“Miss Sue” was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church of Waycross, where she served as Trustee, Sunday and Vacation Bible School teacher, leader of a woman’s circle, and as chair of the Historic Activities Committee for 28 years. In 2007, she co-authored The History of First United Methodist Church 2007 with Bunny Winge.
In 1967, she served as the state president of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Medical Association of Georgia. She was subsequently appointed by different GA Governors to the State Traffic Safety Militia (1970-72), the State Commission on the Status of Women (1973-74), and to the Georgia Forest Research Council (1978-87).
Locally, she served as president of the Waycross Service League, the American Association of University Women, the Holly Interests Club, the Williams Heights Elementary School and Waycross High School PTAs, and the James Dye Foundation of South Georgia State College.
In 1971, she joined her husband and sons on a family medical mission trip to Mombasa, Kenya, where she actively engaged in Christian teaching.
In 1972, while sorting through keepsakes from her mother, she discovered a treasure-trove box of handwritten letters that revealed detailed and intriguing communications between her maternal great-grandparents, during their courtship and afterward, that were written between 1851 and 1870. These letters formed the backbone of her first real book, Southern Letters and Life in the mid-1800s, published in 1993 and containing 214 letters, 211 illustrations, and over 150 referenced citations.
Mrs. Clark was the founding organizer of two area museums, the Okefenokee Heritage Center (OHC) in 1975, which showcases the life and times of early and later-day Okefenokee-area and Waycross residents (including indigenous and African Americans) and Southern For-est World Environmental Center in 1981, which explores the native forests of Southeast Georgia and the many uses of forest products. In 2011 she wrote and published “The Unusual Story of the Okefenokee Heritage Center and Southern Forest World.” It tells the compelling story of the creation of each through her eyes, has 656 pages with over 1,000 photos, and over 500 illustrations.
In 2008, with Deborah Bowen, helped research and prepare the successful 188-page application to have the Lott Cemetery placed on the National Register of Historic Places and contributed to the resulting book Historic Lott Cemetery, published in 2009.
Also in 2008, she joined forces in genealogical research with nephew Don & Jan Webb to study her paternal ancestors and then published Lott-Bailey Families and Their Relationships to Waycross, Ware County, Georgia. It spans 512 pages.
In 2017, she published the second edition of her cookbook: Southern Ladies’ and Men’s Favorite Recipes and Stories about Food.
At 92 years of age, “Miss Sue” at last published her autobiography, Let’s Talk About Me, which reveals and illuminates delightful episodes about her life experiences.
The following recognitions were given to Mrs. Clark: “Waycross Woman of the Year Award” (1969), Wesleyan College Alumnae Award for Distinguished Achievement (1970), Silver Fawn Award (1972, Council-level Boy Scouts of America), Bicentennial Award of Merit in Establishing the Okefenokee Heritage Center (1976), Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce Jack Williams “Outstanding Community Service Award” (1977), Listed in Historic Georgia Mothers (1776 – 1976), Southeast GA Area Planning and Development Commission: “Liston Elkins Award for Distinguished Service to Southeast Georgia” (1981), Georgia Forestry Association: “Wise Owl” for Outstanding Service to Forestry in Georgia (1982), GA Association of Museums and Galleries: “State Patron Award for Outstanding Leadership” (1983), Woodmen of the World: “Conservation Award” (1987), Waycross Kiwanis Club: “A.J. Miller Award” (2010), and Waycross Hebrew Center: “Morris Jacobson Brotherhood Award” (2016)
She was a member of four national heritage societies: the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia (Chair, Waycross Town Committee), the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mayflower Society, and the Jamestowne Society.
The Okefenokee Heritage Center would like to thank all of those who contributed in her memory. She was an incredible lady and will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Find out more in our Newsletter, click the link below:
October – July, August & September 2023
In Memory of Susan Lott Clark
Susan Lott Clark, 98, passed away peacefully at her home on May 2, following a long and productive life. She was preceded in death over 20 years ago by her husband, Dr. S. William Clark, Jr., a prominent ophthalmologist in Waycross.
April, May & June 2023
Jewish American History in Waycross, GA
Despite the extreme level of population turnover, the Jewish community of Waycross began to organize in the 1920s. In 1920, Jews in the area first gathered to pray together. Four years later, 13 men officially organized a congregation, with Alex Gilmore as its first president.
October – Jan, Feb & March 2023 When Pogo’s Father Visited the Ok’fenok’
by Larry Purdom
Our memory returns to the good ol’ day of PogoFest and to the man who helped put our little corner of the world on the map. He was Walt Kelly, as almost everyone knows, the cartoonist who created Pogo…
October – December 2022
Gram Parsons Guitar Pull by Dave Griffin
Ingram Cecil Connor III, known to the world as Gram Parsons, spent the first 12 years of his life in the small, South Georgia railroad town of Waycross.
It was here in Waycross that he hunted and fished the Okefenokee Swamp …
April – June 2021
Waycross Entertainment History by Marla Howell
Waycross has a wealth of history but more specifically we are addressing two areas being those who performed live at our City Auditorium and the magnificent theaters of our town, one that hosted three world motion picture premiers.