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Ina Ruth Clarke, Designer and Gardener

Ina Ruth Clarke, 97, an active member of the community and the First Congregational Church of Norwalk, died Oct. 7. She was a designer and avid gardener.

Born in 1913 in the parish of St. Mary in Jamaica, she was the daughter of Samuel and Amanda Bell. Clarke left Jamaica in 1946 to join her uncle in New York. In 1953, she became an American citizen. She worked at a clothing-manufacturing firm, where she advanced to the position of designer. When the company relocated to Norwalk, they invited her to accompany them.

Clarke was a member of the First Congregational Church outreach program and was a deacon. She was administrator of the Norwalk Community Garden. In her later years, she lived at the Laura Raymond Homes, a senior citizens' home, where she cared for the flower garden.

In March 2003, Clarke reached her 90th birthday and many friends and family members gathered to celebrate her life. After suffering a stroke, she moved to the Honey Hill Nursing Home. No longer active, her friends kept in touch, visiting with her in the nursing home.

She is survived by her brother Harry Bell of Florida, and many nieces and nephews.

Magner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Calling hours will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the First Congregational Church, located at Park and Lewis streets. The funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Permanent Fund of the First Congregational Church, Park and Lewis Streets, Norwalk, CT 06851.

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