TIJERAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Friends and family held a memorial Wednesday for Doris Lark, the woman accused of stealing scrapbooks from a Senior Center.
As many mourned her death, the former Senior Center Manager also joined the chorus against the Village of Tijeras, calling them liars for trying to use her as a scapegoat in this scrapbook squabble.
“We’re truly going to miss her,” said Polly Kirk, Lark’s friend from the Senior Center.
Lark made lots of friends at the center, and several of them gathered to mourn her death and share memories of Lark’s generous nature and love for bringing people together with her creativity.
“Doris was our craft person and she would always come up with ideas to keep the seniors busy,” explained Kirk. “It’s hard to lose a loved one,” said Lark’s husband, Jim. “I’m just at a loss.”
Lark died last month, before she got a chance to defend herself in a court battle with the Village. Mayor Gloria Chavez accused her and Floy Watson of stealing scrapbooks from the Senior Center; scrapbooks Lark insisted she paid for and created.
Lark and Watson were banned from the center, charged with larceny by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, and sent to court.
After month’s of dodging KRQE News 13, the Mayor’s office sent a statement, saying, “on behalf of the Village of Tijeras we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Doris Lark.”
The Village Clerk went on to explain, “ownership of these pictures by the Village was verified by the previous Senior Center Manager, Jody Weidner. Ms. Weidner stated that these albums were donated and the pictures did belong to the Senior Center.”
But the former Senior Center Manager said that’s just not true. In fact, she fired off a letter in the local newspaper Wednesday, in response to the Village’s statement.
In the Independent newspaper, Weinder called the claim a “flat out lie,” saying “shame on Mayor Gloria Chavez, and shame on Diane Klaus (Village Clerk).”
“They called and asked me about the scrapbooks and that’s when I told them that they were Doris’, that she paid for the film and processing and everything, the Senior Center didn’t pay a penny,” Weidner told News 13.
Lark’s husband said stress from the Senior Center ban and the legal battle didn’t help her deteriorating health.
“She loved that center, you know and it’s such a loss to her,” said her husband.
His message for the Mayor: “Doris was so wonderful, say something nice, tell the truth about her, that’s all.”
The Mayor’s office did not return calls for comment Wednesday about the former Senior Center Manager calling them liars. Watson, the other woman accused of stealing the scrapbooks, is scheduled for trial next week.