Lynne Clark | Don’t Dream Ambition, Live it
Most people have goals, dreams, and ambitions. However, not many achieve all of them. Lynne Clark has not only accomplished her dreams, she has embraced other opportunities that have presented themselves throughout her life.
Currently, Lynne works from her comfortable home in St. George. The walls are filled with frames, photos, and paintings. An organ stands against one wall. Various books lay on tables and shelves. Each item – like a puzzle piece – hints at the complete picture of Lynne’s life as a musician, choir director, artist, photographer, life coach, licensed marriage and family therapist, writer, wife, and mother.
When Lynne opened her St. George photography studio in the 1960s, she never dreamed it would enable her to achieve one of her greatest ambitions, to become a published author. Her collection of over 22,000 historic photographs allowed her to publish a 400-page book about Southern Utah.
While leaning back cheerfully on her much-used sofa, Lynne recounted the humble beginnings of her photo collection.
“Sometimes people would bring old historical photographs [into the studio] to have a copy made to give to relatives,” she said. “I love history and I love photography. So, sometimes I would ask if they would allow me to keep a copy of it – never even imagining that it would grow into a collection.”
For decades, Lynne accumulated such copies. After a while, some community members took a particular interest in the collection and added special contributions to it. A couple times, anonymous donors left large manila envelopes filled with photos at the studio. At other times, people brought in old negatives from basements for Lynne to develop.
By the mid-1990s Lynne decided it was time to share the photos and stories of the St. George pioneers from her collection. She was determined to write a book about the St. George Cotton Mission.
Unfortunately, her attempt to write was fraught with setbacks. Lynne explained that only a year after she commenced creating an outline for the book, she suffered a stroke leaving her unable to read or write – an event that left no visual affect to this day.
“I knew I needed to write a book, but it wasn’t possible at that time, “ Lynne said, continuing to eloquently string words together while painting a picture of her difficulties. “I couldn’t even write a sentence. It was almost like dyslexia, only worse.”
Even after countless hours of relearning to read and write, Lynne did not resume book writing for eleven years.
Then, in 2009, she realized the St. George sesquicentennial was quickly approaching. Smiling, Lynne said, “I thought, ‘Well, maybe I can do a little book about St. George, not the great big one about the Cotton Mission.’ The little book about St. George turned out to be 400 pages. It took me 3 years. It has been a great adventure.”
Lynne explained while writing “Images of Faith” she felt a close connection with the courageous people whose stories and photos she included. In the prologue, she wrote, “I have become well acquainted with the people of the Dixie Mission – what they looked like, their joys and sorrows, their love stories, their determination, fortitude, and their great faith. These were real people from whom I have learned great lessons – they have become my good friends.”
After years of researching, writing, editing, sorting photos, and designing pages, the book was published in November 2012.
Lynne did not anticipate the amount of time the book would take to write. Nor did she anticipate the tremendous support she received from the community.
Businesses and individuals reached out to sponsor her endeavors. “Because of these people, this book came to be – because of their financial help,” Lynne said. The sponsors’ names are listed in the first pages of “Images of Faith.”
After publication, local businesses including George’s Corner, Stapley’s Pharmacy, Lin’s Market, and Ace Hardware displayed and sold copies of “Images of Faith.”
Lynne feels that a strong connection to history – particularly the history of Southern Utah – is important for present and future generations. “We don’t live in the past. We learn from the past,” Lynne said.
Perhaps Lynne has not only done justice for generations past, but a great service for the generations to come. Her book ties individuals of all ages to southern Utah’s stunning heritage.
Through sheer determination, stunning talent, helpful people, and a spout of good luck Lynne was able to achieve more than she ever imagined.