East Bay News
Woman behind Lafayette crosses memorial dies
LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- The woman who came up with the idea for the hillside peace memorial in Lafayette has died. Louise Clark died Sunday at the age of 86. She was an architect by profession, but those who knew her say promoting peace was her life's work.
If it weren't for Clark the Lafayette cross memorial would not exist. Clark and her late husband Johnson, a World War II veteran, owned the property where the crosses were constructed.
"I can't think of anything more respectful than to have some indication that we appreciate what those thousands of people have done for our country," Clark said in 2006.
But not everyone in the community shared Clark's vision. The city initially objected to the size of the sign at the top of the property, which tallies the number of war dead.
"We do not intend to take it down, that would be disrespectful to our soldiers," Clark said of the dispute.
Others called the display an insult, a slap in the face to the men and women who fought and died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Clark stood her ground, much as she had throughout a life dedicated to community involvement and political activism.
"She was one of the draft counselors for the Peace Center way back in the Vietnam War days," Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center spokesperson Bob Hanson said.
Hanson is also with Grandparents for Peace. Both were organizations Clark was involved with.
"Louise is a fighter and a grand woman; I cherished having known her," Hanson said.
Clark's involvement in the local community goes back to the 1950s when she was a member of the original Lafayette Senior Recreation Center.
"She wanted to build senior housing for seniors so they could stay in their community and not move out when they needed support," Linda Wurth said.
Clark had intended for the crosses to stay up until all of the troops came home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Clark's daughter says the family has no plan to take down the memorial.
Clark died after a year-long battle with lymphoma. She leaves behind six children. Private services are set for this weekend.
lafayette, afghanistan war, iraq war, east bay news, laura anthony
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