Gretchen Catherine Jahncke Clarke

Gretchen Catherine Jahncke Clarke


Ms. Gretchen Catherine Jahncke Clarke finished her journey in this life on November 24th, 2022, appropriately, on Thanksgiving Day. 

Gretchen, born in New Orleans, on May 21, 1934, was the daughter of Paul F. Jahncke, Jr, and Loretta Grace Jahncke. She graduated from Louise S. Magehee School in New Orleans and from Pine Manor College, in Wellesley, MA. 

After college, Gretchen worked in Dallas, where she met Holden M. Clarke. They were married in New Orleans in 1958, and moved to Jackson, MS, where they made many new friends. 

After raising three children, Gretchen embarked upon a new business career. In 1982, she opened The Front Porch Christian Bookstore in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson. Gretchen also had a big heart for Christian mission work and spent time coming alongside missionaries in Eastern Europe, and particularly in Poland. She also spent about a year in St. Vincent Island in the Caribbean, helping the local Christian community to establish a Christian Library/Bookstore. 

She later opened Gretchen’s Bookshop, located at the Old Train Depot, in Madison. After selling her bookstore in Madison, Gretchen moved to St. Catherine’s Village and for many years volunteered as their librarian. Gretchen was a long time member of First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, and was among the several families to volunteer to help establish a new church congregation called Highlands Presbyterian Church in Madison. 

She later returned to First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, where she faithfully attended until health issues prevented her. 

Gretchen was predeceased by her parents, her brother Paul F. Jahncke, III; her sister, Grace Newburger; and her ex-husband Holden M. Clarke. 

She is lovingly remembered and survived by her son, Stuart H. Clarke (Janie), and her daughters Shellie Kilgore (Toby), Jennifer Stocker (David); and her grandchildren, Anna Kathryn Clarke Brown, Sarah Linfield Clarke Wilson (Aaron), Cameron Stuart Clarke (Hanjie), Kendall Holden Clarke (Abi), Ian Rutherford Clarke (Katrina), Elizabeth Rhymes Clarke, Lucy Flowers Kilgore, Thomas Stuart Kilgore, Holden Enslen Kilgore, Mary Grace Stocker, William Clayborne Stocker, Gretchen Catherine Stocker Eason (Nathan) Margaret Anne Stocker; and her five great-grandchildren. 

Visitation will be held on Saturday, December 3rd, 2022, at 10:30 am at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, followed by a memorial service at 11:30 am. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be given to First Presbyterian Church’s Mission Department, St. Catherine’s Village, or Living Services, Inc. of Madison. 

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