OldArchive / The Way I See It

Remembering Laceyville Mayor Mable Clark

No question about it.

The community of Laceyville won't be quite the same without Mable Clark.

Mable, who passed away last week, was Laceyville's first and only female mayor.

Although she stepped down as mayor in 1997, a position she'd held since 1976, Mable continued to have a positive influence on the community she clearly loved.

Mable was appointed to the mayor's post as a replacement for former mayor Art Valentine, who retired. She obviously liked the job because she stayed with it for over two decades.

But more importantly, the people of Laceyville liked the job Mable did well enough to keep her in office so long that many town residents couldn't recall a time when anyone but Mable was mayor.

A Tunkhannock native, Mable and her husband, Richard moved to Laceyville in 1946. It didn't take Laceyville folks long to discover that Mable liked getting involved in the community.

Consider that Mable served as a volunteer Girl Scout leader for over 15 years, even though she didn't have a daughter to benefit from the program, and you'll begin to understand something about Mable's selfless service to her community.

And it didn't end with Girl Scouts. She's served as a den mother, worked on the election board for as long as most anyone can remember, was secretary and volunteer driver for the ambulance association dating back to 1961, served as an officer and dedicated member of the fire company auxiliary and was an active member and president of the Oldest House Association since the group was formed.

Stepping down as Laceyville's mayor was not easy for Mable. But a heart attack the previous spring, followed by another after she was hospitalized, brought home the reality it was time for a change.

Keeping in character, Mable told the town council she'd stay on the job until they found a replacement.

On the evening Mable announced that she was retiring as mayor, I asked her what had been the most frustrating part of her job over all those years.

She quickly answered it was being a woman in a man's world. "I'd make a suggestion about how to do something and everyone would say it was a bad idea," Mable said. "But a month or so later a male member of council would suggest the same thing and suddenly it was a great idea. Some of them just had a hard time taking direction from a woman."

The construction of Laceyville's new sewer system was a time when Mable expected confrontations from the town's residents, but looking back, she said her concerns were unwarranted. "I expected our phone to be ringing off the hook," Mable told me. "We even had an answering machine installed, but it turned out not to be that bad. It was nothing like I envisioned."

When Mable retired as mayor she said her two biggest disappointments were that she was never able to convince the town council to update the community's Christmas lights and that council had discontinued the annual spring clean-up day (which has since be reinstated).

Mable also said she was concerned about the declining number of Laceyville retail businesses. "Do you know how many businesses there were here when I first came to Laceyville?" she asked me. "Do you know how many of them are gone today? It's scary."

Mable's passing last week ended a chapter of Laceyville history that will likely never be equaled. It began when an energetic, pleasant natured, unselfish 51-year-old woman took on the challenge of being Laceyville's first female mayor and became a community icon along the way.

"It's been a joy," Mable told me her last evening on the job. "I feel I've done my part in any way I could."

She sure did.

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