Shirley Clark, Past President of NYS (1996-1998) and Show Chairperson (until 2023) passed away on June 17, 2024.
At Shirley’s request, there will be no services.

For those wishing to send condolences, below are family addresses:
Shirley’s daughter – Holly Mead (John)
1910 Young’s Rd. Moravia NY 13118

Shirley’s husband – Dick Clark
7339 Fair Haven Rd. Homer NY 13077

Below is a lovely tribute written by Kathy Doody about her Button Buddy, Shirley Clark, published in the January 2022 NYSBS Bulletin. 

My Button Buddy, Shirley Clark by Kathy Doody 

When I hear the name Shirley Clark I think about the quote, “Friends are like buttons, they hold everything together,” as Shirley has been the glue that has held the New York State Show together for over 25 years.

I had the privilege to meet Shirley back in 2015 through my friend Janie Hughes. At the time I was crafting with buttons and going to garage sales to find them. Janie introduced me to Shirley and I was invited to her home to see if I was interested in any of her buttons. That was the beginning of a friendship that holds strong to this day.

While at her home she invited us to attend the New York State Button show in Owego, NY the next month. Curiosity sparked my interest as my friends and I drove to see what button collectors, collect and sell. Heading to Owego on a beautiful Saturday morning we were guessing what a button show would look like. Once we were in the door Shirley quickly came over and started to introduce us to dealers and different types of buttons. I have always been impressed with how generous and kind the dealers have been at the New York State show. No doubt I was speechless for the first time in my life. I walked around silently for the rest of the day as I laid my eyes on one treasure after another. That was the beginning of a crafter turned collector.

Over the past several years we have been able to enjoy each other outside of club meetings getting to know each of our families and being able to share in our desires and disappointments. But what I enjoy the most is Shirley’s sense of humor and we find it in the simplest of moments.

Shirley’s button journey started in 1991 when she stopped at a curiosity shop in Homer, New York. It was there that she bought her first button called Lalla Rookh, which she still has in her collection today. She went home and shared the button with her husband Dick and asked if he had ever seen or collected anything like it. He responded, “Do I have buttons?”  To her surprise, he took out a set of jeweled waistcoat buttons and that’s when she knew, she was hooked.


Shirley was introduced to the David Harum Button Club which had 24 members at the time. She also worked for Ron Cole helping with the show when it was in Norwich, NY. She fondly looks back at when the Ruth Steinbeck collection was left to the club, and members were able to purchase them over time. 

Her first time selling happened to be at the National Convention in Tacoma, Washington. She brought buttons to sell out of her room and when a dealer canceled, she was able to get a table and that was the start of her journey of selling and buying buttons. She laughs, thinking back to learning what a “measle” was at competition, and fondly remembers spotting with Simone Kincaid at the National Convention. These are just a few of the many wonderful memories she holds close to her heart.

If I could use one word only to describe Shirley it would be generous and she is in so many ways. She is especially generous with her knowledge and willingness to share it with you and help you on your journey either collecting buttons or life’s little lessons. But why stop there?  Talent is another trait that she so humbly shares. Her button collection is breathtaking, her quilting skills amazing and if you are lucky enough to see her cross-stitch frames, they are simply jaw-dropping. I can’t forget to mention her miniatures, as they are so complete and stunning that you’d want to move in.

But what I love most about Shirley is that she is honest. You always know where you stand with Shirley. She doesn’t hold a grudge, is always forgiving, and never looks back all the while moving ahead. All qualities of a true friend who wears her heart on her sleeve.

Shirley’s daughter Holly contacted me one night this past June that Shirley had been taken to the hospital after suffering a stroke. I was heartbroken. All of us in the Finger Lakes Club and beyond were devastated to hear the news. It didn’t take long for the news to spread across the state and nationally. Hundreds of cards with good wishes poured into her mailbox encouraging her for a speedy recovery. Shirley’s boundless energy certainly helped her in her recovery and soon she was sent home to the delight of many.

To the amazement of doctors and friends, Shirley not only is home but already making plans for our New York State show in the spring. I am not alone in wishing Shirley the many blessings she deserves and look forward to making new memories in the future.

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