US Stamps

Nancy B. Clark, 1946-2024

Feb 3, 2024, 8 AM
Nancy B. Clark, the first woman to serve as president of an international stamp exhibition, died Jan. 28 at the age of 77. Among her many philatelic passions was fostering a love of stamps through various youth programs. Photo courtesy of Carlos Vergara.

By Charles Snee

Nancy B. Clark, the driving force behind the Boston 2026 World Expo, the next international philatelic exhibition in the United States, died Jan. 28 of respiratory failure at the age of 77.

Mrs. Clark was among the 76 collectors profiled in Linn’s Stamp News Most Influential Philatelists, published in 2022.

She served as president of Boston 2026 from 2010 until July 2022, when she became president emerita due to health concerns. Yamil H. Kouri currently serves as president of the expo. In 1996, she was the first woman to lead an international show, Olymphilex 1996.

“I find it a little bit annoying that I’m the first woman to do this,” Clark said in her Influential Philatelists profile. “I know other women in the world who should have been given that opportunity and weren’t. I want to make sure it’s really a good show.”

Mrs. Clark began her philatelic journey as a young girl in her hometown of Akron, Ohio, learning about the hobby from her parents, both of whom collected stamps. They would take her to the Rubber City Stamp Show.

“I’d be plopped on the floor with an album and my parents would bring me a couple of packets of stamps,” Clark recalled in her Influential Philatelists profile. “But the album had space for stamps that I didn’t have. It was very frustrating.”

One of her numerous passions was youth philately. “When my kids were kids, that’s when I first began working with beginning collectors,” she once said.

During her years as a music teacher in Rochester, N.Y., she began delving into exhibiting, judging, organizing stamp shows and developing youth stamp programs in local schools.

Mrs. Clark’s “talents in these areas became well known to national philatelic leaders at the time and she was tapped to lead youth activities at the 1986 Ameripex international exhibition in Chicago,” Tom Fortunato, public relations chair for Boston 2026, said in a Jan. 30 press release announcing her death.

“Moving out of the area in the early 1980s, she and her husband Doug Clark were the driving force behind the creation of the Georgia Federation of Stamp Clubs in 1990, eventually becoming the current Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs that annually hosts the national WSP [World Series of Philately] Southeastern Stamp Expo,” Fortunato said. “An even bigger assignment awaited her as she was chosen to head the Olymphilex 1996 international exhibition taking place in conjunction with the 100th Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.”

The Clarks founded the Georgia Federation of Stamp Clubs, now called the Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs. They also formed the Peach State Stamp Show, known as the Southeastern Stamp Expo today.

In a Jan. 30 post on the Stamp Collecting Forum website, first-day cover specialist Foster Miller recalled Mrs. Clark’s power to persuade:

“When the [Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs] had a vacancy for Secretary and the consensus was we needed at least one officer outside of Georgia, Nancy, the one-person nominating committee, asked me if I would take the position and of course, I accepted. One did not tell Nancy no.”

Mrs. Clark was closely connected to the American Philatelic Society, where she held various positions and committee assignments over the years. She served as APS treasurer during 1999-2003.

She was an accredited APS chief philatelic and literature judge, as well as an accredited International Federation of Philately judge.

She was also actively involved with the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History, located on the campus of Regis College in Weston, Mass. From 2010 to 2012, she was the museum’s interpretive master planner. In 2012, she became president of the corporation of the museum.

Among her numerous philatelic recognitions are the 2006 APS Ernest Kehr award for her efforts with beginning collectors, the 2008 Luff award for exceptional contributions to philately, and the 2018 Neinken medal from the Philatelic Foundation for distinguished service. She was also a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London.

Her online radio show, APS Stamp Talk with Nancy Clark, welcomed engaging philatelists from myriad collecting areas for more than 17 years.

“Anyone who met her will always remember her smile, kindness and encouragement in whatever philatelic ventures awaited,” Fortunato said.

A self-described evangelist for the hobby, Mrs. Clark exuded philatelic joy wherever she went.

“I want to share the word about this wonderful hobby,” she said in her Influential Philatelists biography. “It’s given me so much joy that I want to share it with folks.”

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