Friends and family are mourning the loss of former City Councilwoman Augusta Clark.
“Gussie”, as she was best known, died on Sunday, aged 81.
Mayor Michael Nutter said in a statement Clark meant “so much to so many of us engaged in social and political struggles.
“I met Gussie Clark 30 years ago and since that time, she’s been a friend, colleague, supporter and mentor,” Nutter said. “My wife Lisa and I were able to see Gussie in the hospital just last Thursday, and fortunately, she was resting peacefully.
He said, “We’ve suffered so many losses recently in the political world – Councilwoman Clark, Councilwoman Krajewski and Congressman Bill Gray. They are all missed and admired.”
Council President Darrell Clarke said in a statement voters often assumed he was Clark’s son — even though his name is spelled differently.
“She was so popular back then with residents, I have to admit at times I was tempted to not correct them,” Clarke said.
Clark worked for Gray before she was elected to City Council at large.
In a statement, Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila.) said Clark leaves behind a “legacy of service and commitment to the community. Everyone she touched knew of her passion for education, and she will be forever recognized for her tireless work improving the city’s public schools.”
It was a sentiment echoes by many. “When it comes to education, Clark believed if we don’t invest in our children today, we will pay for it tomorrow,” Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said.
“She worked to ensure that our schools had the resources to provide every child with the opportunity to create a brighter future.
“The PFT would like to extend our condolences to the family of Augusta Clark. We will strive to honor her memory as we continue to fight for better schools and stronger communities for Philadelphia.”
On his Facebook page, Electricians’ Union leader John Dougherty said, “I was glad I caught Councilwoman Gussie Clark out of the corner of my eye at Congressman Gray’s funeral. What a good woman … very good to the labor movement … broke my heart to see her struggle to breathe.”
Political consultant Frank Keel said Clark was a “fighter for the right causes, a defender of the downtrodden, and a sweet woman.”
Clark died in the early hours of Sunday morning at Lankenau Medical Center.
She is survived by her son, Mark; daughter Adrienne; and four grandchildren. Her husband, Leroy W. Clark, died in 2007.
Services for Augusta Clark will take place at bright Hope Baptist Church, 1601 N. 12th Street on Saturday, Oct. 20, starting at 10 a.m. Viewing will be from 8 to 10 a.m.