Denelle Clark-Fugate, of Niles

Published 10:34 am Thursday, March 24, 2022

Denelle Raye Clark- Fugate was the first-born child of Dennis and Sue Clark (Marilynn Leach). She was born in Elkhart, Ind. on Sept 12, 1977.  She passed from this earth on the morning of March 17, 2022, after a five-month battle with colorectal cancer.

Though we will miss her every day, we rejoice in knowing that she is pain free, she will never shed another tear, and she is reunited with her grandparents, Dee and Lee Capron of Niles, and Charles and Lucille Clark of Edwardsburg.

She is survived by her husband Matt, her children Ivy Panczak (Ian York),  Nova Panczak, Stylz Panczak and Ulysses Fugate, as well as her parents, brother Eric Clark (Rachel) of South Bend, and sister Lindsay Clark (Marc Taube) of Niles, and numerous aunts and uncles and  cousins. The father of her children, Justin Panczak (Sam Jamnik) and his parents Suzanne and Art Hagan with whom she remained in close with. Suzanne joined in with Denelle’s mom in taking care of her the last month of her life.

Although she and her husband, Matt were only together for 4 short years, they shared similar interests, hobbies, music, sense of humors and so much more. When she got sick, he dropped everything and devoted himself to loving and caring for her day and night.

Denelle loved her job with Kinexus. She did not have a judgmental bone in her body and took pride in  the task of finding housing and jobs for recently paroled inmates which was perfect for her. She was full of joy at being a part of these people getting a second chance.

Denelle had a lifelong passion for softball, spending summers at Pepper Martin Park where she was the 1st girl to make the boys all star baseball team. She played every summer at N.B.G.S.A , where she learned to love being the catcher, that continued into adulthood where she played on many adult softball leagues, and many charity games for the United Way. Her softball career came to a sad end when she had a roller-skating accident and broke both arms at the same time.

Denelle was a 1995 graduate of Niles High School and a 2021 graduate of LMC, where she was often the oldest “kid” in the class and was accepted by all the students because she was funny, quick witted and her sarcastic sense of humor was priceless. One knew better than to set next to her at a serious gathering. She could make you laugh just with the look on her face.

When asked what came to mind, when someone heard her name, this is just a sampling of what people said,


Loved life

Loved laughter




Big heart

Fierce and fiery


Unapologetically herself


100% accepting

She made me feel seen.


Brutally honest & beautifully compassionate in the same breath

Hard working

Strong minded


When she walked into a room, everyone was happier.

Denelle we know you are in a better place now, and we celebrate that today.

We know that we are forever changed for the better because we knew you.

The world has lost someone irreplaceable, and we will remember you, love you and miss you until we meet again.

In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider donating to, Southern Care Hospice, 1965 Boardman Rd. Suite B, Jackson, MI. 49202.

There will be a celebration of her life on Friday April 1 at p.m. at The Buchanan American Legion.