Clara's House shelter founder, Englewood philanthropist Clara Kirk dead at 79

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Clara Kirk, the woman known as the "Mother of Englewood," died Monday.

She was born in 1941 in Mississippi and grew up on the Northwest side of Chicago.

She moved to Englewood in 1974 and opened the Clara's House shelter. Kirk also worked with the Chicago Public School system.

Before opening the shelter, Kirk provided food and shelter in her own family home, said Kirk's son, McKinley Bell Sr.

Kirk founded numerous organizations including Clara's House, Clara's Place, Clara's Academic Center as well as West Englewood United Organization.

Bell oversaw Clara's Place before it shuttered in 2017.

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Kirk leaves behind three sons, two daughters and several grandchildren.

She was 79 years old.
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