Losing Clarence is one of the most difficult things the auto-safety world will go through. Today, I realize how fortunate we were to have him as our brilliant unsung hero in Washington. There are no words to express his influence on our lives. It is through his example that we will learn to fight for those who can no longer fight for themselves and the friends and loved ones left behind.
Clarence was an unbelievably hardworking, strong, loving, and gentle leader. He appreciated the dire need for his work and he was deeply devoted to taking up for all of us, against the evils of corporate greed. He was no saint by any means or stretch of the imagination. He would sometimes describe un-edited versions of corporate greed and how it impacted, not him but, innocent victims. It would make him angry and we all would learn some new information about the trail of misdeeds behind the tragedies.
I remember one time I asked Clarence, Why do you work so hard into the wee hours of the morning, instead of enjoying the “normal” life of family? He confessed that he married his work a long time ago and was meant to direct his energy and resources to saving lives of those who had not even known they’d been saved. I didn’t realize it then, but he was living proof of the value of hard work. He woke up every day and went to work for us and for our families. Clarence never ever left an email or request unanswered and always reminded us that he had no secrets and wanted to share anything/everything he could in the fight against the greedy murderous auto executives. Even if he didn’t feel well, he would go to work and keep at it, one day at a time. He believed that if we stood up for what’s right and worked hard, with a little luck, we could all have a safer life.
Clarence married the other love of his life, Marilyn J. Herman, in his final days.
Clarence never gave up and he truly trail blazed a path to a place where a lot of work remains. When we all get together for the upcoming holidays, and everyone scurries about the home, be mindful that so many of us may not be here where it not for his often-thankless dedication
Clarence showed strength and compassion right up until his last days with us leaving a legacy of real heroism. One day, when we are no longer here, I only hope that even just one of us will have made such a contribution to society.