Ursula Maria Clarke
Ursula Maria Clarke (Nickisch) of Santa Barbara passed away May 9, 2021. She was born July 25, 1926 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Hedwig and Christian Nickisch. She worked as a bilingual secretary and translator for the Daily Express newspaper in its Berlin office. In 1955 she married Howard William Clarke, whom she had met when he was posted in Berlin with the U.S. Army during the Cold War. Ursula moved to the U.S. and lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Walled Lake Michigan and finally settled in Santa Barbara in 1965. After having 2 daughters she earned a Bachelor’s Degree as a non traditional student first at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and finally at UC Santa Barbara. Ursula then completed a teaching credential for teaching German and French at the high school level. In 1972 Ursula returned to Germany with her family, living in Goettingen as her husband ran the German UC Education Abroad Center. Upon the family’s return to Santa Barbara, Ursula worked as a translator and bilingual secretary at UCSB in the Germanic and Slavic Languages Department, where she very much enjoyed her work and the camaraderie of her coworkers. Ursula so enjoyed the academic environment that she continued to work part-time at the UCSB Library in Special Collections, translating the numerous letters and documents of Lotte Lehman, the internationally renowned German soprano who had spent many years in Santa Barbara. Upon retirement, Ursula and Howard spent a number of years taking many cruises throughout the Mediterranean where Howard lectured on classical sites and Ursula mingled with the other cruise guests.
After her husband’s passing Ursula moved to the Vista del Monte retirement community. Her daughters would especially like to thank Ya-Ping Luan, Vanessa Munoz-Pintos, and Eva Beltran for their compassionate and professional care of our mother. Special thanks to Abraham Sanchez, who lovingly cared for Ursula during her final hours of life.
Ursula is survived by two daughters Anne Marie Clarke of Santa Barbara, Christine Clarke (Abhay Ashtekar) of State College, Pennsylvania, and a grandson Neil Ashtekar of State College, Pennsylvania.
There are no services planned. She will be interred next to her husband in Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara.