Mrs. Jane Arnold Prince Clark, 78, of Plymouth, N.C., passed away on Sept. 7, 2023, at home surrounded by her family and her little buddy, Maisie, after a long and courageous battle against cancer and its complications.
Jane was born on June 28, 1945, to Virginia (née Parks) and H.M. Arnold Jr., of Franktown. She counted growing up on Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore as one of life’s wondrous blessings. Those halcyon days spent at Gramma Arnold’s farm on Nassawadox Creek, not far from the Chesapeake Bay, instilled in her a profound faith in the Lord of all creation and his goodness for all people.
Jane attended Birdsnest Grade School and Northampton High School (Class of 1963), where she developed lifelong friendships and an appreciation for learning. Ever the caregiver, while in high school, Jane became interested in occupational therapy and chose it as her life’s work. She attended Ferrum Junior College and Virginia Commonwealth University, earning a degree to that end.
After college, she served with distinction on the staff of Riverside Hospital of Newport News and the Eastern Shore Community Service Board (CSB), administering therapies and coaching patients with activities and tasks that promoted rehabilitation of their injuries and traumas.
In 1985, the CSB, recognizing her communication, teamwork, and technical skills, asked her to serve as the founding director of its newly created Parent Infant Program on the Shore (PIPS). Now known as the Infant & Toddler Connection of the Eastern Shore, PIPS provides early intervention supports and services to developmentally delayed infants and toddlers from birth to age 3.
Under her leadership, the program was regarded as one of Virginia’s finest early childhood intervention programs — this acknowledgment, coupled with her grant-writing ability, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure the program’s success.
An ardent supporter of public education, Jane chaired the committee that wrote the state-mandated K-12 Family Life Curriculum for Northampton County Public Schools. Jane and her former husband, Bill Prince, created the PASSS (Parents and Students for Safe Socials) initiative, an all-night after-prom party to support their children, Jenny, Rebecca, Allen, and their friends and keep them safe. Over 30 years later, their PASSS program still serves as the model of a successful after-prom party for other school districts.
Following retirement in 2010, she married the Rev. Jay Clark, moved to Plymouth, N.C., and became wife to an old country preacher. And as with her other roles, she lovingly excelled as a minister’s wife. In 2011, under the auspices of Plymouth Methodist Church, Jane and Jay founded CROSS (Christians Reaching Out in Sacred Service). CROSS, hosting volunteer mission teams from nearly every state east of the Mississippi, offered urgent home repairs to low-income families at no cost to the families.
In the early days of the ministry, Jay oversaw the rehabilitation work and Jane served as case manager and volunteer coordinator. Since its inception, CROSS has successfully taken on over 600 critical repair projects valued at nearly $3.5 million. In 2016, she, Jay, and David Peele wrote a grant application to The Duke Endowment that provided $1.2 million to the mission. At the time, in the nearly 100-year history of the TDE, it was the largest grant ever given to a local church’s social outreach initiative.
When Jay retired as CROSS’s executive director in 2021, Jay and Jane founded The Easter Project. They affectionately called this new outreach “Flipping Houses for Jesus.” The Easter Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to purchase and rehabilitate derelict houses, turn them into homes, and then sell them to a family that could not otherwise buy a home.
Jane, a lifelong Methodist, faithfully served in her beloved Franktown Methodist Church. In addition, she was part of the leadership cadre that helped the Methodist renewal group Emmaus take root on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She served as lay director of ES 2, choosing Joyful Hearts Adancin’ as the weekend’s theme. Also, she served as a team member on numerous Chrysalis (youth) and Kairos (prison ministry) walks.
Jane was an avid reader of detective stories. Though she would never own to it, she was a cruciverbalist at heart. She took pride in her Morse-like ability at crossword puzzles but was frustrated at many Wordle and Words With Friends losses to her sisters, Virginia Parks and Cindy Robinette.
Jane is survived by her husband Jay; children, Virginia (Jenny) Tomlinson, of Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; Rebecca Meyers and her husband, Brad, of Southern Shores, N.C.; Allen Prince and wife, Christine, of Virginia Beach; stepchildren, Jay Cannon Clark and partner, Leah Clancy, of Richmond; Joshua Clark and partner, Anna Dove, of Chincoteague, and Julie Clark, of Richmond; grandchildren, Morgan Crank, Heather and Dale Tomlinson, Jackson, Ellie, and Veda Jane Meyers, and Nolan, Launa, and Evie Prince; sister, Virginia Hartman and husband, Jerry, of Onancock; brother H.M. Arnold III and wife, Mary Lou, of Franktown; as well as beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Family and friends are welcome to attend a celebration of her life, which will be held at the Charity Methodist Church, 4080 Charity Neck Road, Virginia Beach VA 23457, on Sept. 16, 2023, at 2 p.m. The Rev. Neill Shaw will preside with the Revs. Stephen Lee and John Clark assisting.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Jane’s name to The Easter Project, 101 Virginia Pine Drive, Plymouth, NC 27962.
Jane has left a rich legacy of love that will be remembered to the end of time.
Arrangements are by Maitland Funeral Home in Plymouth, N.C.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.maitlandfuneralhome.com