Family blames scrapbook court battle for woman’s death

TIJERAS, N.M. (KRQE) - The woman at the center of a scrapbook controversy that made national headlines has died. Doris Lark’s family said the ordeal was just too much for her to handle.

KRQE News 13 reported this story nearly two months ago, when Lark and her friend were banished from the Tijeras Senior Center, then taken to court.

Lark was passionate about winning the battle, but she won’t get a chance to see it through.

Lark’s friends and family mourn her loss, after she died over the weekend in the hospital.

“It just breaks my heart, it just, to lose someone like Doris, it’s just the saddest thing on earth,” Floy Watson sobbed. “She was a good, wonderful person, and everyone should remember what a dear, wonderful, kind, caring and sharing human being she was.”

Watson was by Lark’s side in court last month. The two are accused of stealing scrapbooks from the Tijeras Senior Center; scrapbooks that Lark insists she made and paid for.

The scrapbooks that held fond memories are now the center of a court battle.

Lark, 71, struggled with health issues, but her family told KRQE News 13 when Tijeras Village Mayor Gloria Chavez sent her and Watson letters accusing them of larceny, Lark’s health took a turn for the worst.

“It added to her stress and no doubt at her age, stress affects your health, so I just think the whole thing is really just awful,” explained Bill Gossage, Lark’s friend from the Senior Center.

Lark and Watson said they never understood why the mayor cared about the scrapbooks, but the photobooks meant a lot to Lark.

“Everyone should enjoy themselves and be creative and make beautiful things or fun things, and just be together, and that was Doris,” recalled Watson.

A letter circulating, written by Lark’s friends from the Senior Center states, “the gift of her kind and happy spirit will be missed,” and calls for others to be a voice for Doris, claiming “Mayor Gloria Chavez has had an unprecedented stronghold on The Village of Tijeras.”

“I just had visions of all this mess being over and marching triumphantly through the door with Doris, you know, and just no big deal, just sitting down and doing our darn crafts together,” Waston explained. “It’s sad, it won’t happen.”

Watson hopes to win the case against her for both of them.

Lark’s family told News 13 that she went into the hospital a week ago with pneumonia, then suffered from organ failure. The women’s attorney has filed motions to have the cases against them dismissed, to clear their names.

“Hopefully it’ll all get straightened out and hopefully they’ll clear Doris’ name after the fact, but I think it’s a shame,” said Gossage.

Watson is scheduled to appear in court next month. The mayor has refused to talk to News 13 about this case. News 13 reached out again Monday, and hasn’t heard back.

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