'Mother of Englewood,' Clara Kirk remembered for her love of children

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Clara's House shelter closed three years ago, but the legacy of the woman who started the shelter lives in the hundreds of women and children she helped over the years.

Clara Kirk, known as the "Mother of Englewood" or the "Hidden Jewel of Englewood," died on Monday at the age of 79.

"She left this world maybe in turmoil, but she brought a lot of peace and harmony to a lot of people," said Kirk's daughter, Sabrina Morgan.

Kirk worked as a school custodian and engineer, but saw some children falling through the cracks.

She was known to bring people into her family's home until she opened the shelters.

"She loved the children. She didn't want to see any children on the street. She didn't want to see any children hungry," said McKinley Bell sr., Kirk's son.

"The life that she lived, it spoke for her, whatever she told you she was going to do. That was exactly what she was about," said Ed'Rena Bell, Kirk's daughter-in-law.

Yolanda Branch came to Clara's House with her five children during a difficult time, a time that she says she overcame with Kirk's love and support.

"Now is the time to take in the teaching God allowed her to teach us....take heed to her example," Branch said.

The family said they understand there are many who want to share stories and pay respects, but the funeral will be private only family and a few close friends.
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