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NOVEMBER 2018     |   Vol. 23   |    Issue 11    |     Mail Run: 8,401    |     Total Print Run: 11,500

        Your Good News Community Newspaper, Serving Northern Frederick County, Maryland, Since 1995

                       Thu r m on t ’ s Mo th e r C l a r k e

                        A  S al u te to On e Wh o Lo ved Veter an s

               Joan Bittner Fry                                                          Courtesy Photo

               Few people in the history of Frederick County,                                           were so many military convoys traveling the highway that
            Maryland, can claim to have been a mother to                                                guards were needed. This simple act of kindness on their
            thousands, yet Ambrosia Elizabeth “Rose” Derwart                                            part began a lifetime of devotion to Veterans and, eventually,
            Clarke (who shall be called Rose) could. She was born                                       earned Rose the title of “Mother Clarke” to thousands.
            in south Baltimore on August 4, 1895. Her father                                              In 1942, Rose was the first woman in Frederick County
            owned and operated a saloon and the convenience                                             to give blood for the war effort. When she signed up for
            store next door on Hull Street. If she were alive today,                                    the first donation, the newspaper noted that a woman from
            she would be doing one of two things: donating blood                                        Thurmont, who had given birth to twenty-four children,
            or visiting sick and wounded service members in                                             was to donate blood and wished to remain anonymous. At
            hospitals.                                                                                  age sixty, her doctor ordered her to stop giving blood; but,
               It isn’t certain why she became so devoted                                               by that time, she had given fifty-one pints, a pint every two
            to servicemen, but the fact that her father’s two                                           months from 1942 to 1955. Also, in 1942, she began to visit
            businesses catered to the sailors docked in Baltimore                                       wounded servicemen in three military hospitals. She once
            may have had some influence. On Christmas Day                                               said, “Arthritis hasn’t stopped me. If God lets something
            1916, she married Charles H. “Jerry” Clarke, Sr., a                                         happen to my feet, I still have my hands.” At age eighty-six,
            route driver for Rice’s Bakery. Rose and Jerry met on                                       she said, “As long as God gives me health and strength, I’ll
            an excursion boat named “LOUISE” in Tolchester,                                             continue my work.”
            Maryland. A painting of “LOUISE” later hung on a                                              For twenty years, she never had time to leave her
            wall in the front living room of their home.                                                hometown. In fact, she had never left her native state of
               After their marriage, Rose often accompanied her                                         Maryland. So, in 1947, The Thurmont Lions’ Club thought
            husband on his daily rounds from Baltimore, which                                           it was time for Mother Clarke to take a breather, and they
            included Northern Frederick County. The young couple                                        provided a trip to California for her.
            later chose to make Thurmont their home. Rose gave                                            Jerry died in 1954, and although Rose was deeply grieved,
            birth to twenty-four children, twelve of whom lived.                                        she turned more and more of her energy towards the comfort
            As the years passed, Jerry bought a candy store across        Rose and Jerry Clarke.        of Veterans. When she was hospitalized in 1966 for surgery
            from O’Toole’s Garage on the Old Emmitsburg Road                                            on an arthritic knee, she remarked, “When they would take
            (at that time) and quit his job at Rice’s. The store was                                    me for physical therapy, there would be hundreds of our boys
            turned into a beer saloon and sandwich shop. Jerry bought additional land and   trying so hard to get used to their artificial arms and legs; oh, how my heart
            a seventeen-room, three-story house (Altamont and 550) up the road from the   ached for them. That’s why we must keep their morale up, make their hospital
            restaurant-beer saloon. Eventually, the entire saloon was completely transported   stay a little more cheerful, and show them we won’t forget them.”
            up the main thoroughfare of U.S. 15 (now 550) to where Mountain Jerry’s came   She was a friend to all servicemen, and during the war won their respect and
            to permanently be (Liberty Gas Station is there now.).                     admiration for the many little favors she did for them. Her home was a “home
               One would think that raising twelve children and helping a husband run a   away from home” for the servicemen, contributing much to their morale.
            business would be exhausting, but not for Rose. Her desire to help others was   When the war ended, she continued this service, begging and borrowing to
            boundless. At the beginning of WWII, Rose and Jerry made sandwiches daily   carry on this personal service for her “boys in uniform.”
            and took them to the soldiers who stood picket duty along the road. There     She made frequent visits to numerous hospitals and sought small gifts
                                                                                       from retailers in both Frederick and Baltimore for “her boys.” Military
                                                                                       leaders at every medical facility in Maryland wrote to thank her, and she
                                                                                       was a guest on several national television programs, soliciting gifts that she
                                                                                                                             … Story   continued on page 17
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