Marvel Ruth Clark of Clive


Marvel Ruth Clark, 91, of Clive and formerly of Perry passed away Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in Clive, Iowa.

Marvel was born June 4, 1932, in rural Perry, Iowa, the eldest daughter of Victor Vernon Fagen and Ruth Lucy Dorman Fagen.

She attended school through eighth grade at rural Coffee School and graduated from Perry High School in 1950.

On Nov. 1, 1953, Marvel married Kenneth W. Sailer in Perry. Marvel and Kenneth had two daughters, Hollie Denise and Shelly Jeanne.

Marvel and Kenneth divorced, and Marvel married Fay Marvin Clark on Sept. 6, 1980, in Iowa City.

Together they traveled all over the U.S. and Mexico, pursuing their mutual interests in history, rocks and gems and photography, until Fay passed away in 1991.

Marvel lived her entire life in Perry until moving to Walnut Ridge Senior Living in Clive in 2017.

Marvel was an extremely talented musician and taught piano, organ and accordion lessons to hundreds of students in the Perry area for more than 70 years.

In the early 1950s, Marvel founded and directed the Mardora Accordion Band, which played for many events around central Iowa. She directed handbell choirs at the Perry United Methodist Church for more than 15 years.

In addition to music, Marvel was passionate about nature. She assisted her mother, Ruth Fagen, in maintaining the Happy Hollow Wildflower Garden, located on the family farm west of Perry, and spent many happy hours tending to the flowers and birds.

Marvel was an avid reader and had a library of more than 5,000 books, including numerous selections on Egyptian and Mayan history.

Marvel also loved people and was happiest spending time with and talking to family and friends. She always had an ear to listen to any friend or family member who needed to talk.

Marvel was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Fay; sister, LaDora Hegstrom; and brothers-in-law, Charles Thaler and Ronald Hegstrom.

She is survived by her two daughters, Hollie (Daniel) Hart and Shelly (Darryl) Siemer of Des Moines; granddaughter, Elizabeth (John) Kalish of Clive; great-granddaughter, Annabelle Kalish; sister, Norma Sue Thaler of Longmont, Colorado; nephews, Brent (Bev) Hegstrom and Myles (Joyce) Hegstrom, both of Perry; and Mark Thaler of Albion, Indiana; and several grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. Additionally, she is survived by the son of her heart, Kevin Maxwell of Sandy Valley, Nevada; and numerous cousins and friends.

Funeral services will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 3424 Forest Ave. in Des Moines. A memorial celebration of Marvel’s life will also be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept 30 at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway at 3601 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the Forest Park Museum and Arboretum, the Des Moines Concert Handbells or Hospice of the Midwest. Online condolences may be expressed at


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