My friend, mentor and brother, Kelly Clark — Requiescat In Pace

kelly-clark-thumbI can’t really say much beyond what I wrote earlier to an email to friends:

For 13 years, Kelly and I “shared a brain”: I would know what he wanted to say, and he always knew best how to say it.  Although his abuse work was central to who he was, he cared about and tried to fight for everyone who was being taken advantage of.  From fighting casinos and the lottery because of the impact on gambling addicts, to representing landowners getting shafted by the government, Kelly was always looking for a good cause and good people to dedicate his keen intellect and extremely well-honed instincts.  His thinking was always based on subtlety and understatement, and that thoughtfulness and caring came through to everyone he met.  His calm reaction was the opposite of my quick impatience, and his personality tempered my approach to everything, from litigation to family.

One thing that many folks didn’t see of Kelly was the truly selfless help he gave to people in substance abuse recovery.  He would take a call in the middle of a meeting, take an hour out of the office, whatever needed do get done to give these guys the support they needed right away so that they didn’t backslide.  He would tell me that as a “normie,” (a “normal” person—which is debatable) I couldn’t quite get the urgency of addicts feeling like they are in trouble, and that he needed to help them when they called, or they would quickly be beyond help.  Once, I remember we went to some event on the other side of town, and he was looking around the streets from the car for a friend he knew that had fallen off the wagon a few days before, because that was where the guy used to hang out when he was using.  Even from his sickbed, Kelly continued this ministry to those in recovery.

Kelly taught me more than I can say, and made me not just a better lawyer, but a better man.  Leaving his firm back in May, I told him that I would always be around to help, even if my office was somewhere else, whenever he got back from caring for his wife in her final months.  His loss now has just left me stunned, and even seeing him off to the Mayo a little over a week ago, you’d never guess he would be leaving us so soon.  Tears don’t come easily, but there are more than a few for KC right now.

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for Kelly being in my life, and the real hole in my heart now that he is gone.  The world is indeed a smaller place without him in it.  I take comfort from his rock-solid faith in God, even though he had seen some of the worst of life.  We will see our dear brother again over the river.


Update:  I had incorrectly put “Pacem” above.  Kelly, who learned classical Latin several years back (since he wasn’t doing much else besides running a major law office and taking on the Catholic Church), would want me to use proper Latin.