Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Mary (Yatchak) Clark

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Mary (Yatchak) Clark, 73, a longtime resident of Wakefield, passed away Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Minneapolis. She had been courageously fighting a serious illness.

Mary was born on Oct. 26, 1946, in Ypsilanti. She was the eldest daughter of former Wakefield Coach Roman Yatchak and his loving and devoted wife, Mary (Zorich) Yatchak.

Mary was a Vietnam era U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Japan and provided medical support to hundreds of wounded soldiers before coming home.

She had a wide and diverse career ranging from a medical lab technician, semi-truck driver, landscape artist, copper mining driller/blaster (White Pine), to finally a registered nurse. Mary enjoyed helping to deliver babies and caring for the elderly at several area senior nursing facilities. She worked at Grand View Hospital and other facilities comforting many with her kindness, competence and genuine concern for their well being.

Mary is survived by two sons, Henry (Niki) Risen Jr. and Charles (Marlee) Risen; several cherished grandchildren; five brothers, Stephen (Linda) Yatchak, Michael (Vanessa) Yatchak, John (Janet) Yatchak, Richard (Michelle) Yatchak and Joseph Yatchak; two sisters, Marjorie (Lee) McKenzie and Mickey Yatchak; numerous dear nieces and nephews; and her faithful dog, Jessie.

She was predeceased by her parents; and a brother, Roman Vincent Yatchak.

Mary's early education was through Wakefield Schools, but she graduated from Lansing's J.W. Sexton High School. She attended Michigan State University and then entered the U.S. Air Force where she trained to become a medical laboratory specialist. She later earned a bachelor of science from Central Missouri State University. Finally, and with great pride, Mary earned her nursing degree from Gogebic Community College in Ironwood where she was honored for her high scholarly achievements by induction into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the All-USA Academic Team for Community and Junior Colleges.

Mary was a vibrant woman who loved fishing, the Upper Peninsula, northern lights, traveling and the outdoors. She was a friend in the community and generous to a fault. Mary had a terrific sense of humor and was not beyond pulling pranks. She loved practical jokes. Mary was dedicated to family and friends. Her beloved farm was home away from home to all of her sons' friends through graduation and beyond. She was an excellent cook and baker and shared Christmas boxes with a lucky few every year. Mary loved people. She found joy sharing stories of which she had many. Mary took great pleasure helping others learn to fish. In fact her nick-name in the area was "Walleye Mary." She was often found pole in hand at Lake Gogebic, fishing in all weather, day or night. She especially enjoyed the clear starry skies, and the big walleyes attracted to her lighted bobbers. Mary was as tough as any pioneer, and she fought the good fight right to the very end.

The family honored Mary's life in a private funeral service in Minneapolis.

A celebration of her life, open to the community and all of her family and friends, will be held in mid-May, with time and location to be announced at a later date.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. Condolences may be expressed online at