Mercerdese Richardson Clark


Mercerdese Richardson Clark spent her entire life serving the Parramore-Holden Community as a student, wife, mother, nurse, entrepreneur, community activist and role model to youth.

Clark, an Orlando native and lifelong resident, comes from a family with deep Orlando heritage. Clark received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Hampton University in Virginia and returned to Orlando where she served as a nurse at Orange Memorial Hospital and Winter Park Hospital. Clark would go on to become the first African-American female to be the Director of the Orange County Health Department in Florida.

In addition to her professional accolades, Clark has an equally impressive list of contributions to her community, having served on 27 Central Florida community boards during her lifetime including Chairwoman for the Parramore Heritage Renovation Project, a model for the revitalization of the historic Callahan, Parramore and Lake Dot neighborhoods. Clark was President of the Carter Street Neighborhood Association and Board Director for the Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation. Clark was also inducted into the Jones High School Hall of Fame.

Clark spearheaded many placemaking and beautification projects in the neighborhood which encouraged others to get engaged and give back to the community.

To add to the economic vitality of her community, Clark opened a women's boutique, Clarks' Ladies Fashion in the heart of Parramore. She mentored countless young people and engaged with many community groups as a part of the store’s mission.

Clark was a member of the Orlando Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she served as President and was honored for 15 years of outstanding service to the organization. As part of Delta Sigma Theta, Mrs. Clark joined other members of the sorority to spread the word within their own communities about Alzheimer's, the degenerative and fatal brain disease that affects blacks more than whites.

Clark was a faithful member of the Episcopal Church of St. John The Baptist where she served as a Vestry member, Junior Warden, Treasurer and Episcopal Church Women President for several years.

Clark's motto in life was, "let the dash between birth and death speak for me." There is no denying, the dash representing Clark's life was one of accomplishment and service to her community.