A Tribute to Chris Klicka
I can still remember Chris Klicka
walking toward me at Oral Roberts
Law School, where he was in his last year
of school. He began talking, and the first thing that was obvious was his passion. He was passionate for homeschooling. And
he was passionate for Jesus. And he knew quite a lot about the law of homeschooling—as much as anyone knew in those days.
In 2005, HSLDA President Mike Smith (left) and Chairman Mike Farris (right) presented Senior Counsel Chris Klicka (center) with a plaque commemorating Chris’s 20th year of wholeheartedly serving homeschoolers as an employee of HSLDA.
HE WAS A MAN
OF A SINGLE-HEARTED
DEVOTION THAT I
HAVE NEVER, EVER
At the time, no one worked full-
time for Home School Legal Defense Association. I was a volunteer and shared a couple of part-time staffers with Concerned Women for America (CWA).
But we decided that we needed someone to handle the organization on a full-time basis. And that
passionate young man who just graduated from law school was the obvious choice.
Chris, Tracy, and I used to
commute together to work. I was general counsel for CWA, Tracy
was the secretary for Paul Weyrich, and Chris was the Executive Director
of HSLDA. We used the hour-long
commutes each way for me to give
Chris whatever input and direction
he needed to manage the activities of
Chris’s passion was contagious. His patience was legendary. In the second phase of HSLDA, when it was Mike Smith, Chris, myself, and a couple secretaries—one of whom, Pat Ramirez, is still with us—Mike and I would talk to members who had troubles for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes, or even 15 or 20.
But Chris was just getting warmed
up at 20 minutes. He loved people so much and he loved homeschooling
so much that he engaged with people in
a comprehensive conversation that gave legal advice, but also exuded love.
Chris and I used to play racquetball at lunch. We would tell the secretary that we would be “at court.” Since we were never ever in court in the local area but only in some far-flung region, she would just laugh at our standing joke and tell us to have a nice game.
Chris’s disease began to be noticeable early on. Because my mother has multiple sclerosis, I was perhaps the first to suggest to him that he might want to have that checked out. It was not an easy thing to say or receive.
But, while he would have seasons of
discouragement, for reasons that would
have sent most of us into the depths of despair, the passion that Chris felt for the mission to which God had called him never, ever, ever, ever dimmed even slightly.
He struggled to walk, long after I would have given up. He pushed long after I
would have quit. He gave of himself
long after I would have forgotten about
others and would have focused only on myself.
Chris’s accomplishments as a lawyer
for homeschooling are clear and of value that cannot be overstated. He was one
of the most important pioneers of our movement. But there are two areas in which, I think it is fair to say, Chris is not just one
of the most important—but the most important figure in the homeschooling movement.
The first of these two was driven home to me at our conference in Philadelphia. We had lunch in a big tent behind the conference hotel. With two canes, Chris took a long, long time to walk across the platform. He grasped the lectern, held on, and talked from his heart.
Every person in that room knew one thing was true—if Chris Klicka can
overcome these things to come and talk to us, what are my troubles, what are my difficulties that I think are too hard? He taught
us from his example that Christ is sufficient for whatever we face. In this way, Chris
has no peer.
The second way that Chris Klicka
will always be the number one homeschooler in my view is this: his passion for homeschooling was simply the greatest I have ever seen.
He believed that this is truly God’s way to teach children to love God. He believed
it deeply. His conviction was infectious.
He was a man of a single-hearted devotion that I have never, ever seen equaled.
When we get to the courts of heaven someday, I think that there may be a
racquetball court among them. I sure hope so, because Chris owes me a rematch.
Chris is a man who was called of God. He loved deeply. He inspired us all. And his life is a life of triumph.