CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A family said their final goodbyes to a loving father and husband Thursday morning. A funeral procession led the ashes of Joseph Clark past his wife of 53 years, as she sat on the sidewalk of her nursing home. Charlee Clark watched with tears, as family, friends and loved ones drove by. The 74-year-old also received five dozen roses from the staff of the home, Garden Gate Health Care.
The touching ceremony came four days after her husband passed away, by her side.
Anyone who knew Joseph will tell you he was the funniest person in the room. The couple, who have five kids together, had a motto of ‘Never go to bed angry.’ But since last June, Joseph and Charlee had been separated at different nursing homes. Joseph was at Brothers of Mercy in Clarence, while his wife was in Cheektowaga.
“I would take her every chance I could, to go see him, but it was difficult for her physically,” their daughter, Jennifer Page said.
Joseph was in the Navy during the Vietnam War. His family believes he had lasting effects from Agent Orange. His kidneys were failing, and last week, he decided it was time to receive comfort care.
“I said, ‘Don’t do this for us, this is your decision, you do what’s right for you,'” Page said.
That moment was tough for Page, but she also knew it would be harder to watch her dad spend his final hours without his high-school sweetheart, Charlee.
So, after pulling some strings in the middle of a pandemic, Page got Joseph transferred to Charlee’s nursing home.
“The first thing out of his mouth was, ‘Hi I love you,'” Charlee said. “I met him when I was 10,” she said through tears.
For nearly two days, Joseph and Charlee shared a room. He whispered that he loved her every time he could get. And on Sunday morning, he passed away in his daughter’s arms… and for a final time, he went to bed at peace with his wife by his side.
“They never went to bed angry,” Page said. “I think that’s one of those life advice moments to live by.”
Page said, even in her father’s final moments he made his family laugh. She said she noticed some glitter had fallen off her face, and onto his hear. When she apologized, he raised his eyebrows in a joking manner.