‘Breaking barriers and standing firm’, Faith Burgess-Clarke dies – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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'Breaking barriers and standing firm', Faith Burgess-Clarke dies

Faith Burgess-Clarke 1929-2021

Bermuda’s first chiropractor who “broke barriers” as a Black woman in the field has died at 92.

Faith Burgess-Clarke also served in the Adult Education Society and the Professional Women’s Club.

Deeply religious and a lifetime member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hamilton Parish, Dr Burgess-Clarke helped many in need from behind the scenes.

In their tribute, her family called her quick-witted, tenacious and devoted to family life.

Dr Burgess-Clarke, who grew up in Bailey’s Bay, attended Cripplegate School in Hamilton Parish followed by the Berkeley Institute, travelling there by train or bicycle with her older brother Dwight and younger sister Vivian.

After attending Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, she studied at the Columbus Institute of Chiropractic in Seneca Falls, New York.

“She was the only female enrolled in the course of study, and her class photo depicts a solitary Black woman among a sea of White men,” her obituary said.

“Breaking barriers and standing firm, undeterred, she completed her course of study and graduated in June 1954.”

Medical pioneers including Eustace Cann and Thomas Stowe helped her establish her practice in Hamilton.

In 1957 she married Randall Bradford Clarke, and the couple had six children: Carol-Anne, Donna-Mae, Charles-Arthur, Cherie-lynn, Philip and Craig.

Family life meant shuttering her Hamilton office and moving her business downstairs at their home on North Shore, Pembroke, where she practised part-time until late in life.

Dr Burgess-Clarke also helped run a family business across the road from the house, A.R. Clarke & Sons Dry Cleaning.

Later she became an assistant at the Junior Library before moving to the main library where she worked until retirement at 65.

A firm disciplinarian, Dr Burgess-Clarke made sure all her children took part in activities, including piano lessons.

Her tribute added: “She sacrificed to ensure that each of her children and grandchildren who were ready acquired a college education.”

She never learnt to drive, her family said, after getting lessons from her husband that ended with an argument.

“Notwithstanding, she ensured that Bradford was fully engaged with drop-off and pick-up schedules for six busy kids – perhaps payback for being a poor driving instructor.”

Her husband died from cancer at 55.

A keen traveller, Dr Burgess-Clarke particularly enjoyed trips with family and often visited her brother Dwight and sister Delores in Birmingham, Alabama.

“Their home was her home away from home,” her tribute said.

“Nothing bought her more joy than to be in the company of her children and more recently her grand and great-grands.

“She gave all that she had to ensure their growth and development.”

⋅ Faith Eva Jacqueline Burgess-Clarke, Bermuda’s first chiropractor, was born on February 5, 1929. She died on March 4, 2021. Dr Burgess-Clarke was 92.

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Published April 19, 2021 at 9:24 am (Updated April 19, 2021 at 9:24 am)

'Breaking barriers and standing firm', Faith Burgess-Clarke dies

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