Kema Clark in her favorite place — on a lake in a kayak.\f0\fs24 \cf0 photo provided
Kema Clark in her favorite place — on a lake in a kayak.\f0\fs24 \cf0 photo provided
Visitors to The Nugget office in Sisters will be greeted by a new face. Kema Clark has taken on the role of front-office and classified-advertising manager for the newspaper. Lisa May, who previously held that position, is shifting her focus to graphic design and paper layout, in partnership with Jess Draper.

Clark has a lifelong love for the written word, which has led her down some interesting career paths. She was an award-winning writer and photographer for Jones County News in Georgia, and from 2006 to 2016 she was the owner and operator of a new-and-used bookstore in downtown Gray, Georgia.

She was drawn to The Nugget as a kind of “dream job,” she said.

“The Nugget Newspaper is very similar to the Jones County News, which is where I worked in Georgia,” she said. “I love the way The Nugget is set up — so community-driven… I really like the community focus that The Nugget has.”

Bookselling and newspaper work are second-career highlights for Clark. Most of her career was spent with Ford Motor Company. Her first position there was in Macon, Georgia, as a credit analyst.

“Our main focus was to help people get over rough patches in their life,” she said.

Wanting to move up in the company, Clark took assignments that took her from San Bernardino, California, to Oklahoma and Nebraska, from Tennessee to Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

That kind of peripatetic life isn’t for everybody, but Clark’s family thrived on new homes and new adventures.

“We loved it,” she said.

Clark’s love for reading led her into her next career after her retirement from Ford Motor Co. in 2006.

“I like being in a room with lots of books,” she said. “When I retired from Ford Motor Co., I had about 9,000 books of my own.”

That collection became the seed for the bookstore operation. After she folded that enterprise up, she worked for two years to promote literacy among Jones County kids, donating 3,000 books and assisting with writing a grant to create a bookmobile.

Her own reading since childhood had created a deep love for the American West.

“The West has always been my favorite thing,” she said.

When her son and daughter-in-law, who were living in Portland, decamped for Bend, Kema decided to head west to join them.

She finds the lifestyle of Central Oregon congenial.

“My favorite thing is kayaking,” she said “I love kayaking here.”

She likes to kayak on the region’s lakes, in an environment that can take the breath away.

“The last time we went out, there was this huge eagle in a tree,” she said.

Clark lives in Bend, but likes the feeling she gets when she comes to work in Sisters.

“It brings you peace and quiet and joy just being here,” she said. “When I saw the ad in The Nugget, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is my perfect job.’”

Her new colleagues think she’s a perfect fit for that job.

“It’s been fun introducing Kema to the job responsibilities and to the people of Sisters,” said Lisa May.

“This position involves interfacing with so many people, and Kema is a great fit for that.”