Barbara Clark Ziko, M.D.

July 10, 2013 

Barbara Clark Ziko, M.D.

BARBARA CLARK ZIKO, MD, passed away on Friday, July 5, 2013, at UNC Memorial Hospital. Barbara was born on March 28, 1953, in Detroit, Michigan, to Arthur M. Clark, Jr., M.D., and Lois Jean “Pat” Clark, R.N. Barbara attended public schools in Dearborn, Michigan. From an early age, she loved music. The summers she spent at Michigan’s Interlochen Music Camp were a source of fond remembrances her entire life. Times she and her brother, Tom, spent visiting their grandparents and playing and fishing with their cousins in Humboldt and Marshalltown, Iowa, were a wellspring of bucolic childhood memories. Barbara was quick to attribute the best parts of her exceptional character to her Midwestern upbringing. Barbara attended Dearborn public schools and graduated from Dearborn High School in 1971. Among other achievements, she was one of two Michigan Presidential Scholars. Barbara went on to attend Yale University where, on the first day of school, she made the fateful acquaintance of one Thomas J. Ziko. While at Yale, Barbara was an active member of the Carillon Guild that gave her the Quasimodoesque opportunity to serenade the entire campus and a large part of New Haven from the heights of Harkness Tower. Barbara graduated from Yale in 1976 with a B.A. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. Always fascinated by Art’s medical practice, Barbara was destined to be a doctor. She began her medical studies at Duke University School of Medicine in the fall of 1976 and earned her MD in May of 1980. Despite her obvious intelligence and extensive education, Barbara married the aforesaid Thomas J. Ziko on May 24, 1980. In June of 1981, Barbara completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Maine Medical Center. She and Tom then returned to Durham, North Carolina, where she began practicing emergency medicine at regional hospitals, including many years at Raleigh Community Hospital. In 1987, she passed her examinations and attained board certification from the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Barbara was also a Fellow in the American College of Emergency Physicians. On August 7, 1990, Barbara gave birth to Suzanna Clark Ziko. From that moment to the end of Barbara’s life, Suzanna had her unfailing love. On December 1, 1992, Barbara accepted an appointment as a staff physician with North Carolina State University Student Health. Until illness forced her from the clinic nineteen years later, Barbara devoted herself to healing, suturing, teaching, counseling, and, more often than not, mothering countless NCSU students. Working with her colleagues to provide exceptional medical services to the NCSU student body gave Barbara the greatest professional satisfaction.

When she was not working, Barbara immersed herself in Suzanna’s academic and artistic endeavors. Whether they were piano recitals, Scottish dance competitions, youth choirs, vocal competitions, or high school, college or professional stage shows, Barbara was certain to be there -- not just beaming at Suzanna but also supporting all of Suzanna’s friends. There is no doubt but that Suzanna’s performances gave Barbara more joy than any of her own accomplishments. Barbara herself loved playing the piano and she gained emotional strength from music her entire life. She was fond of singing alto with the Christ Church Raleigh choir but accompanying Suzanna at vocal competitions or in private brought her the greatest joy. Having learned to cook at Pat’s elbow, Barbara loved all kitchen activities. Her production of six made from scratch apple, pecan and pumpkin pies every Thanksgiving morning was a triumph of culinary logistics. She intended to entitle her autobiography – “Great Desserts I Have Known.” Barbara was an enthusiastic, if not accomplished, skier and golfer. Her favorite slopes were long green runs which made her feel like she was coasting her bike down an endless hill; her favorite part of a round of golf was the hot dog at the turn. Travel always made Barbara happy. Her summers in Maine with the Ziko’s were filled with blueberrying, climbing mountains and napping. One of Barbara’s most cherished experiences was celebrating her thirty-first wedding anniversary with Tom and Suzanna with a breakfast in Paris and dinner in Rome. Most recently, even in the throes of her illness, she enjoyed three operas at the Met in two days.

In November 2011, Barbara developed acute myelogenous leukemia from eighteen years of treatments for recurring breast cancers. The complications associated with the disease forced her to give up her medical practice but she could not and did not curtail her enthusiasm for Suzanna’s theatrical career. Wearing a colorful cancer cap and a green N95 surgical mask, Barbara was always the best-dressed woman in the audience. Barbara leaves behind innumerable friends with whom she shared extraordinary adventures. While medicine has not yet evolved to the point where it could prolong Barbara’s life, she, Tom and Suzanna will be eternally grateful for the extraordinary medical care and comfort Barbara received from a host of physicians, nurses and staff, particularly the professionals at UNC Cancer Hospital.

Barbara is survived by her father, Arthur Marlin Clark, Jr., M.D.; her mother, Lois Jean “Pat” Clark, R.N.; her husband, Thomas J. Ziko; her daughter, Suzanna Clark Ziko; her brother Thomas R. Clark; her sister-in-law Kathleen V. Clark; and her nieces, Natalie A. Clark, M.D., and Alexandra N. Clark.

The family will receive visitors at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 1701 East Millbrook Road, on Friday, July 12, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The funeral services will be at Christ Church Raleigh, 102 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday, July 13, 2013, at 11:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to The Caring Community Foundation, Inc., www.caringcommunityfoundation.org/, or Clark’s Promise c/o Christ Church Raleigh, www.clarkspromise.org/giving, or a cancer charity of your choice.

This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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