Well-known Nova Scotian artist Melodie Elliott Clark passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2003 in the Caribbean while on vacation with her husband, Geoff Clark.
A graduate of Bridgewater High School and the Payzant Memorial School of Nursing in Windsor, N.S., Melodie practiced nursing in Kingston, Ont. at the Ontario Psychiatric Hospital in adolescent psychiatric nursing. She also worked at the psychiatric unit of the Health Science Centre at UBC.
A tragic car accident in 1971 left her a quadriplegic. She was married in Halifax while she was still a patient in the Victoria General Hospital. During a lengthy rehabilitation program in Vancouver at the G. F. Strong Rehab Centre, she worked long hours to gain wrist and shoulder control so she would be able to paint again.
She went on to pursue a career as an accomplished artist and business woman. In 1992, she earned her Bachelor of Nursing Science Degree from the University of Victoria and worked as an art therapist. She was one of the first quadriplegics in Canada to graduate with a university degree in nursing.
Geoff and Melodie moved to Chilliwack where they opened Elliott Clark Arts, an art gallery and framing studio. During the next 25 years, Melodie exhibited her work across Canada, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and in British Columbia. Her paintings have been purchased by multi-national companies, individuals and all three levels of government in Canada. She gave freely of her time to help many community organizations in the City of Chilliwack and always made herself available to help others who were struggling with spinal injuries.
She was the subject of a television documentary commissioned by the United Nations during 1981, the Year of the Handicapped. She was a frequent guest on television talk shows, discussing social issues such as drinking and driving, accessibility for the disabled, coping strategies for the disabled and stress management.
The Clarks moved back to Nova Scotia two years ago and settled in Seabright, Halifax County.
Melodie was the recipient of many prestigious awards, the most recent being the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Medal for her work in the Arts and Humanitarian Communities, presented to her by The Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Myra Freeman. She was also the recipient of the Vanier Award and the Governor General’s Canada 125 Medal. In 1980, she created the winning entry in the Courage Centre Christmas Card competition.
Melodie is an inspiration to all who knew her.
Melodie is survived by her husband Geoffrey (Geoff) Clark of Seabright; her parents, Norman and Frances Elliott of Bridgewater; her twin sister Melanie of Halifax; brother, Gerald (Myrna) Elliott of Fall River; and sister Debra (Michael) Gill of Allen Heights. She is also survived by her adopted daughter, Linda Allott of Port Coquitlam; and her granddaughter, Jennifer; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and aunts.
A memorial service to celebrate Melodie’s life will be held on Ash Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2003 at 1 p.m. at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 78 Alexandra Ave. in Bridgewater, with Archdeacon John W. G. Clarke officiating, assisted by Father Robert Coote. A reception will follow in the parish hall. Donations can be made in memory of Melodie to your local Food Bank.