Rose Marie Clark of Venice, Florida, formally from Buffalo, NY, passed away with her loving family and friends by her side on October 24, 2019. Rose was born on September 15, 1953 to the late Vincent and Gertrude Karlis. She is survived by her partner of 23 years, Sam Clauss, her daughter, Jessica Clark and brothers John Karlis and Ed Karlis. Rose was a loving partner, mother, sister and friend to many.
She enjoyed golfing, taking girls trips with her best friend Kay, cheering on the Rays and Bucs, going to casinos and spending time with family and friends. Rose was a wonderful woman who was caring, loving, full of life, strong and sassy. She made connections with people everywhere, especially her customers at Luna, where she worked for over 20 years. She loved her family and friends immensely and always put others first.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held on Sunday, 12/1 from 3-5pm at Cafe Venice Restaurant & Bar, 101 W Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285.
A Tribute to Mom
My mom and I had a unique relationship as it was us against the world for a long time. I always think of it as a partnership, we each respected and trusted each other to help and support one another.
The qualities I most value that she instilled in me are self-confidence, trustworthiness and hard work.
I was an awkward, larger-than-average girl in elementary school who was bright and quiet (I was the tallest girl and third tallest in my class beginning in third grade). When I began to compare myself to other girls in my class, she immediately shut it down and said that we don’t use the f-word (fat) or say anything mean about ourselves. I think about this a lot, and can’t thank her enough for ensuring I have a body positive image and language with myself. While I know I have flaws like everyone, I try to make changes in healthy ways. I've never used the f-word towards myself or others and so thankful she taught me self-love.
Along with being abnormally large for my age, I also had a uni brow. when I complained about my bushy eyebrows, my mom told me, "Don’t worry you have eyebrows like Brooke Shields, everyone is going to be jealous in a few years."
In 5th grade, I sheepishly mentioned I wanted to run for Student Body President, but wasn’t sure I could win as there were more popular kids in the running. She immediately told me I would make a great leader and I should run. She started thinking about slogans and ways to campaign, saying she supported me and we would put in 100% effort (like we should do with all things). Nike's infamous slogan "Just Do It" was everywhere at the time, and so she thought we should use that and instead of just signs, create stickers so other kids could promote my campaign. Everyone else simply hung signs around school in designated areas, but my ads were walking around everywhere. It worked, and I become Student Body President, This was the first opportunity to lead, which gave me confidence for future positions in school as well as in my job today.
I always felt my mom had more trust in me than most kids my age. She would go to work around 3pm, right when I was coming home from school. She would go over what she made that day for dinner along with the list of chores I needed to finish that night before I could watch TV. Because I felt that she treated me more like an adult, I would do my homework, then the chores (cleaning the bathroom, vaccuuming the house and cutting the grass were a few of my tasks) before heating up dinner, watching TV and getting ready for bed. I knew she had to work to support us, so I did what I could to do my part around the house.
In Kindergarten I asked my mom how old she was, as all young kids do and she replied honestly, 38. Somehow that year for Mother's Day, our class had a contest to guess your mother's age. The person closest would win a gift certificate for your mom and a few other things. I was so excited because I knew I could win. The answers were all over the place, some kids guessed 65 or 99, which made those moms visibly upset when it was revealed. I luckily remembered what my mom told me and guessed correctly, which everyone was so surprised by (I also very relieved that I didn't go over). I felt special and that we had this close relationship that others around me didn't , and it was a great way to celebrate her that year.
When I was a Freshman in high school, I got my first cell phone. It was a flip phone and my mom got it so she could easily reach me and find out where I was since I often staying over at friends' houses. She told me if I was ever in a situation I shouldn't be in or needed a ride, she would be available regardless if I or my friends were drinking. My friend and I got invited to our first party where I ended up getting pushed into the pool and was not having a good time as I wasn't really drinking and things were getting out of hand. I ended up calling her and she kept her word and picked me up with no questions asked.
My mom worked hard, she was a hustler by definition. She always supported what I wanted to do, whether it was dive camp, travel softball or basketball. She always made it happen, but also relied on others for help, taking me to practice or tournaments, putting together fundraisers to raise money to support traveling or uniforms or letting me sleep over when she had late nights at the restaurant. She never complained or said I couldn't do something, she would talk to me and make sure I really wanted to do it or loved it and then would find to a way to support me.
Looking back, it amazed me how my mom would usually have a home-cooked dinner made for me every night. She would cook during the day, then have it when I got home from school and go over instructions on how to heat it up. My favorite meal was roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. While I did have my share of Chef Boyardee and mac and cheese, she always made fresh vegetables (never frozen or out of a can). Even though I would eat dinner by myself, I felt loved, which instilled in me expressing your love through cooking, whether it’s making a sandwich or cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
There's a few things I'll also remember her fondly for:
My love of food, especially seafood. She owned a seafood restaurant when I was born and was told my first real food was shrimp and crab.
Crab legs for special occasions - birthdays, graduations, watching the Olympics, good grades or having friends in town.
Never cursing around me and not letting me curse as she said it wasn't lady-like or polite. To this day, I rarely use curse words because of this. The funny part is that she cursed all the time and realized that as I got older, but because she wanted me to be polite, didn't do so around me when I was younger.
Teaching me to never go to bed angry. Since I was a quiet child, it was easy to keep my feelings to myself, but this taught me to let things go and let things roll off your shoulder.
Her creativeness around Halloween costumes, she always made my costume no matter how much work it was to do after coming home from a grueling shift. I was a ballerina, an ace playing card, strawberry, Christmas present, dice, birthday present (anything using a box was a big hit). Halloween is still one of my favorite holidays along with any themed event where there's an excuse to get creative and make my own costume.
Not putting up with anyone's BS. While she was from upstate NY, she always said she had a little of NY still in her.
Watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics together.
Her love of entertaining and throwing a good party. Sam and her were the perfect entertainers and hosts, you always knew there would be an overabundance of delicious food, a full bar and a guarantee to have a good time.
Once she met Sam, I could see how much happier she was, there was less stress and it allowed her to enjoy life more. She was the cool mom among my friends as she always put myself and others first. She was also able to take trips with Sam and Kay to go golfing, enjoy vineyards, casinos and visit me in NYC and Chicago.